It would be extremely difficult to calculate, with any high degree of accuracy, the global economic impact of insecticide resistance. For starters, we must consider that insect management plays a pivotal role in a variety of sectors – agriculture, home and garden, forestry, structural applications, and vector control. Analysis of the totality of economic impacts arising from resistance in any one of these sectors quickly becomes a complicated interplay of variables that interact within that given system.
To account for the full economic impact, one must layer in the amount being spent on insect management and how much of that investment is lost to resistance, but also the economic impact of losses to the overarching objectives of a given program.
To calculate the impact, you must first calculate what is at risk.
Walkerton, a serene town in Bruce County, Ontario, with a population of under 5,000, embodies tranquil rural charm, where close-knit communities thrive amid picturesque landscapes. Here on May 15, 2000, the local public utilities commission took a routine sample of the water supply and discovered E. coli contamination. The commission didn’t notify public health officials.
In the following days, several people fell ill with bloody diarrhea. The local public utilities commission reassured officials a couple of times that the water supply was safe, even though cases kept rising. By the time health officials finally warned the community against consuming untreated tap water, over 40 individuals had already sought medical attention at the hospital.
The Walkerton E. coli outbreak that saw 2,300 people fall ill, and seven die, was the worst public health disaster involving municipal water in Canadian history.
Dr. Salim Abdulla is a distinguished clinical epidemiologist whose remarkable career has significantly impacted the global fight against malaria and emerging pathogens. With over 20 years of experience in conducting clinical trials and groundbreaking research, he has played a pivotal role in shaping national malaria policies and leading innovations in healthcare.
Throughout his career, Dr. Abdulla has focused on evaluating and introducing critical interventions in the fight against malaria. He conducted extensive research on insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) and artemisinin-based combination therapies, leading to important advancements in national malaria policy formulation. Notably, he is currently engaged in the evaluation of new malaria vaccines and treatments, with the goal of achieving regulatory licensure.
According to the 2022 World Malaria Report, despite disruptions to prevention, diagnostic and treatment services during the pandemic, countries around the world have largely held the line against further setbacks to malaria control.
Progress towards malaria elimination is increasing; in 2021, there were 84 malaria endemic countries compared with 108 in 2000.
In the 2022 World Malaria Report, compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO), the total spend on funding the fight of malaria in 2021 was estimated at USD 3.5 billion. Over that year, the same report states that there were an estimated 247 million cases of malaria and 619,000 malaria deaths globally.
More recently, over the course of the 20th Century, malaria is believed to have claimed between 150–300 million lives. The disease is contracted predominantly in the tropical regions: sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Amazon basin. This is due to the prevalence of the Anopheles mosquito that transmits the disease. Poorer regions of Africa bear the vast majority of the burden. In 2021, around 95% of the diagnosed cases and deaths were on the African continent, 80% of which were children under the age of five. The disease is entirely preventable and curable with prompt diagnosis and effective methods of treatment which require sufficient investment and funding.
In the last couple of decades, the lush rainforest around the remote village of Meliandou in the heart of Guinea has become patchier. Animals, like bats, saw their habitats dwindle and in a quest for survival, they sought refuge in closer proximity to human environments, making the boundaries between species thinner. A hollowed-out tree in the middle of the village became home to a colony of bats.
About 50 meters from the same tree, in the heart of Meliandou, a two-year-old boy named Emile lived with his family. In a matter of days, Emile fell ill with an unknown virus, developed a high fever, and died. Soon the same virus, that scientists now believe Emile got from the bats, took the lives of his sister, mother, and grandmother. The village, surrounded by a ring of forest, unexpectedly became the epicenter of a devastating outbreak that would leave an indelible mark.
Dr. Raman Velayudhan is a seasoned expert in the public health field and a relentless advocate for combating the global threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
Currently at the helm of the Veterinary Public Health, Vector Control, and Environment unit within the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Velayudhan’s impact is far-reaching.
Climate change and human activity are enabling the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue fever, to new places. Stanford infectious disease experts and disease ecologists discuss what we know and how communities can protect themselves from these changing disease threats.
One look at Aedes aegypti gives an immediate impression of its menacing nature. The telltale dark and white bands on the mosquito’s legs and other body parts bring a sense of foreboding and hardship. Sleek, silent, and stealthy, Ae. aegypti is the primary vector for several important, debilitating, and sometimes fatal human diseases including dengue, Zika virus, yellow fever, and chikungunya. The species is cause for mounting concern on many levels, as its biology, behavior, and ability to adapt have made Aedes aegypti one of the most pervasive and daunting public health challenges in the modern world.
The first mosquito ever associated with the spread of disease, Ae. aegypti is also the most studied of all mosquito species.1 From its humble beginnings in the African wild to a footprint that spans the globe, this durable and opportunistic insect has become a formidable opponent of vector control efforts worldwide.