Return of the Bible Plagues: Mosquitoes

2009, Nature  -  60 min Leave a Comment
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On the surface, the match-up of man versus mosquito may sound like a comical notion, but it actually represents a grave challenge for countless people throughout the world. In some regions, the uncontrolled infestation of mosquitoes constitutes a major humanitarian crisis, and results in an alarmingly high number of deaths every year. This phenomenon can come to resemble many of the most damaging plagues that are recounted in the Bible. Return of the Bible Plagues: Mosquitoes makes the connections between biblical times and what we are living with today, and profiles the desperate efforts to curb this increasingly deadly phenomenon.

Mosquitoes have the potential to carry and transmit a host of destructive diseases, including West Nile virus, Zika and Dengue Fever. Most notably, they infect in excess of 200 million people a year with malaria. Statistics provided in the film conclude that the spread of malaria alone is responsible for millions of deaths each year, particularly in Africa where a child will die from the disease every 30 seconds.

From frogs to flies, the Bible is rife with stories of plagues where the people are terrorized by massive swarms of insects and other pests. These plagues are interpreted as a punishment from God. Many of the communities where these plagues continue to be prevalent still abide by this biblical belief. This poses a challenge to those who work to make a difference in these regions.

The film follows teams of researchers, biologists, clinicians and other activists as they attempt to combat this epidemic. They assume a multi-pronged approach which includes education, prevention, research studies, insecticide use, and the destruction of as many harbors for mosquito infestations as possible, particularly the pools of dank, long standing water in which they breed most successfully.

This crisis is by no means limited to Africa. Concerns of mosquito-borne illnesses have spread throughout Central Europe and the United States. Return of the Bible Plagues: Mosquitoes provides valuable lessons on the severity of the epidemic, the reasons behind its continued prominence across the globe, and the steps which need to taken to survive this modern-day plague.