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'Mosquito: The fascinating world of public enemy number I' is out

November 27, 2009 - 11:22 -- Bart G.J. Knols

'Mug: De fascinerende wereld van volksvijand nummer I' went on sale in Dutch bookstores last Friday. The book (in Dutch) was written for the general public, to become familiarised with the difficulties of controlling diseases like malaria in developing countries. Given the absence of malaria in the Netherlands since 1959, the Dutch population has now lived for five decades without the threat of a mosquito-borne disease. There is therefore remarkably little general knowledge about mosquito-borne diseases, notably malaria.

In it I review the historical events that led to the discovery that anophelines transmit malaria, the discovery of DDT, the first global eradication campaign and current optimism that one day we will succeed to get rid of the disease all-together. I detail the current approaches to control malaria vectors through the use of LLINs and indoor residual spraying. Besides this, I make the case that malaria has become 'an industry' and ideal study subject because of the large sums of money currently available for research, but also that much of this science is not being translated into implementable strategies to control malaria better.

For those of you that read 'Mosquito' by the late Andrew Spielman and Michael d'Antonio (Hyperion, 2001) and the classic 'Malaria Capers' by the late Bob Desowitz (Norton, 1991) will get a feel for what this book is all about.

The book was reviewed by a major Dutch newspaper (Volkskrant) last Saturday (29 November), which states 'If we can give a maximum of five stars for a book, Mug deserves at least five'. 

Hopefully soon I will find a publisher that is interested in publishing an English version of the book...