Bill Gates: “A few years ago, I pulled off a purposeful prank. While I was giving a TED Talk on malaria to a room full of influential people, I opened a canister and let loose a small swarm of mosquitoes. “There’s no reason that only poor people should have the experience,” I said. I let the audience squirm in their seats for about half a minute before I let on that the mosquitoes were not infected with malaria. My gimmick worked. A distant problem suddenly got very close to home.
Today, gimmicks are no longer necessary for convincing Americans of the danger of mosquito-borne diseases. The spread of Zika virus in south Florida, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the U.S. has given millions of Americans a direct understanding what it’s like to live with the fear of mosquitoes and the harm they can do, especially to pregnant women and children.
The world must focus serious attention and resources on ending the Zika epidemic. At the same time, we should keep in mind that the overwhelming toll of mosquito-related illness and death comes from malaria. Malaria is the key reason mosquitoes are the deadliest animal in the world. ”