The best answer would be spraying with DDT. Unfortunately, environmentalists have demonized DDT based essentially on unfounded accusations in a 1962 book, Silent Spring. … DDT should be sprayed on water pools, tents, and on people themselves—as indeed was once common in Sri Lanka and throughout most of the world.
And Tech Central Station:
Imagine that every year the world suffered from six or more tsunamis producing the horrific death toll recently experienced. That’s how many people die every year from malaria alone, and the tsunami may contribute to even higher rates this year. That disaster has created new habitat suitable for the proliferation of malaria and other disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Public health officials can take steps to reduce the impact, one of which involves using the controversial pesticide DDT. Since the 1960s green activists pushed bans of the substance around the world based largely on false claims about its health affects. The result was a public health disaster—contributing to skyrocketing malaria rates.
“Since the ban, two million people a year have died unnecessarily from malaria, mostly children. The ban has caused more than fifty million needless deaths. Banning DDT killed more people than Hitler.”
OK, first the Junkscience death counter. On this page I have a corrected version that shows that the EPA’s ban on DDT has caused deaths. You see, by 1972 malaria had been eradicated from the US, so there was no need for DDT spraying for malaria control. There have been some small outbreaks since 1972, but these have been eradicated by other insecticides. (From reading JTFCSS you would think that DDT was the only insecticide in existence.) The Junkscience death counter is particularly dishonest, since as the author concedes in a footnote hidden at the bottom of the page, the number it gives is more than the total number of malaria deaths in the entire world since 1972.
What about the ban on using DDT to fight malaria? There is no such ban. DDT is banned from agricultural use (and rightly so because of environmental damage) but can still be used for disease prevention. JTFCSS pretends that there is a ban so they can hang malaria deaths around the neck of environmentalists.
So we should be spraying DDT in Sri Lanka to prevent malaria? Well, no. The World Health Organization’s plan for malaria prevention in the wake of the tsunami reports:
Endemic sporadic malaria close to the affected areas transmitted by An.culicifacies, which has been considered DDT-resistant for many years, but is still sensitive to organophosphates, such as malathion, and pyrethroids.
Yes, the mosquitoes in Sri Lanka have evolved resistance to DDT. It doesn’t work any more. In fact, that is the reason why they stopped using DDT in Sri Lanka. It wasn’t because of any ban—it was because it stopped being effective. Steve Milloy, Mr Junkscience, has only a half-hearted belief in evolution. This may explain why he and other right-wing authors have trouble grasping the idea that mosquitoes evolve resistance to DDT. Fortunately, the World Health Organization is not taking advice from JTFCSS and sending DDT to Sri Lanka. They are sending malathion, which will actually be able to kill the mosquitoes there.
Correction: Malathion is not a good idea either, since mosquitoes in Sri Lanka have developed resistance to that as well.
Update: Check out Africa Fighting Malaria, which pretends to be an organization devoted to fighting malaria, but posts this article which as well as arguing for the use of DDT in Sri Lanka where the mosquitoes are resistant to DDT, (remarkably ill-informed for a supposed anti-malaria organization, don’t you think?) claims that environmentalists are opposed to DDT because they want malaria to kill more people. Sure enough, it’s yet another astroturf operation. Sourcewatch has the details.