Control Insect Vectors
 
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GOAL 3:
Control Insect Vectors

Insects spread many serious diseases, including:

  • Malaria, which infects 350 million to 500 million people and causes more than 1 million deaths annually, primarily among young children in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Dengue fever, which infects up to 100 million people each year and can cause severe fever, hemorrhaging, and death.

The main strategy for fighting these diseases—using insecticides to kill disease-transmitting insects—has met with mixed success. For instance, mosquitoes have grown increasingly resistant to available insecticides, and effective insecticides tend to be too toxic or expensive for developing countries to use on a large scale.

A number of promising approaches to controlling disease-transmitting insects are safer, more effective, and more affordable than current insecticides. These include genetic strategies and heritable biological control strategies to reduce the numbers of insect vectors or to inhibit their ability to transmit a pathogen, cutting-edge chemistry to make insecticides that are inexpensive and safe to deploy, and chemical methods based on odorants—repellants or attractants—to limit the interaction of the vector with the human host.

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