DDT or dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane is a pesticide that has saved incalculable amounts of lives since its use during World War II. In the opinion of this author, DDT is up there with vaccinations, antibiotics and sanitation as the most important public health measures ever and particularly in the last century.

DDT Image/Leyo

Its use against the body louse that carries scrub typhus is well documented. U.S. servicemen in Europe were ravaged (up to 3 million) by this infection until the introduction of DDT. The soldiers were dusted and the body lice were killed and it had enough staying power to kill the lice that emerged from the eggs.

It has been credited with helping (in conjunction with other methods) eliminating malaria from the United States and Western Europe. Also it helped reduce the burden of many mosquito-borne infections in the developing world.

The National Academy of Sciences proclaimed in 1970 that, “In little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that otherwise would have been inevitable.”

Internist and President of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, Jane Orient, MD joined for an interview on DDT which will air Sunday evening at 8 pm on the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show on AM 1380 The Biz in Tampa and streaming worldwide.

Dr Orient discussed the history of DDT, the incredible effectiveness and lives saved, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and the eventual and controversial EPA ban. In addition, we looked at the effects on humans, birds and mammals.

Read more at Doctors for Disaster Preparedness

The Outbreak News This Week Radio Show, the first and only radio program dedicated to infectious disease and health news and information, airs every Sunday at 8 pm ET in the Tampa Bay area on AM 1380 The Biz and online at http://1380thebiz.com/