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Strengths and Weaknesses of Widespread Pesticide Spraying
Assignment 2: Strengths and Weaknesses of Widespread Pesticide Spraying to Prevent an Insect-Borne Human Disease
When certain insects were found to carry serious human disease, public health initiatives were launched to combat these insects. To prevent malaria, marshy areas were drained. This caused a drop in cases, but later it was learned that wetlands are an important part of the ecosystem. Another strategy was to spray mosquitoes with insecticides, such as DDT. This practice was thought to have saved millions of lives worldwide, but later it was learned that DDT harms birds. In addition, DDT and its derivatives could be measured in human breast milk, even years after their spraying.
For this assignment:
- Choose a vector-borne disease transmitted by an insect and one strategy involving pesticides by which this vector-borne disease can be prevented. To read about the public health and personal strategies that can be used to control the spread of the disease by this insect, consult the textbook, information found by using the A–Z index of the CDC, and other reputable sources. The strategies will often fall into these categories—change the environment, kill the insect, and make the human being less vulnerable by using protective clothing or practices, or by vaccination.
- Locate and review information about the potential harms, risks, or weaknesses of a conventional pesticide-based strategy for preventing the disease. Locate similar information on a strategy that does not involve use of a conventional insecticide; this may include spraying a biopesticide or a nonpesticide-based strategy.
- Prepare a 2-page report in a Microsoft Word document addressing the following:
- Briefly describe the vector that transmits the disease to humans, the organism that causes the disease, the main health problems caused by the disease, one or two key statistics on the frequency with which the disease occurs in the United States and worldwide, and the environmental conditions that favor spread of the disease (devote approximately half a page to this information).
- Briefly list and define a strategy involving widespread spraying of a conventional insecticide.
- Compare this to an alternative strategy that is used in actual practice. The alternative strategy may not involve pesticides or may involve use of a biopesticide.
- List at least three advantages and benefits of the strategy involving pesticide spraying; one of these benefits may be the effectiveness of the strategy if the strategy is indeed effective.
- Describe at least three disadvantages, risks, or potential harms that may be caused by the strategy involving pesticides; one of these may be the lack of effectiveness of the strategy if the strategy is not effective. Discuss the potential impact of the pesticide strategy on vulnerable populations. Point out the major data gaps if needed research on potential harms of the strategy has not been conducted or is incomplete.
- Conclude stating your opinion about whether the strategy involving the pesticide should be relied upon for public health purposes and justify your reasoning
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