Mosquitoes and Poverty

March 13, 2016

So, there’s a serious proposal on the table. Should we genetically engineer disease-carrying species of mosquitoes out of existence? The technology exists and some pretty prominent scientists think we should.

Let’s check in with Sonia Shah.  She’s a science journalist who writes about pandemics and pathogens and the social history of disease.  She wrote one of the best histories of malaria – a book called “The Fever”, and she has a pretty different perspective on the kill or be killed debate.




Sonia mentioned that, if we went around wearing a mask during cold and flu season, we could avoid it. First, we often as not catch such illness by putting our fingers in our noses or eyes. But a cold mask (not a surgical mask) can stop a cold or flu after it starts, by breathing warm, moist, slightly acidic air.

A cold mask is a half bandanna with a bit of elastic in the middle, over the bridge of the nose, which keeps it from squashing the nose and makes a pouch for one's breath to gather in and be breathed back in.