PCO’s, did you know you are protecting the public health? We encourage you to read the following article from PCT Magazine, written by Jerome Goddard. It explores the origins of pest control and public health.
Perhaps more than pest management professionals realize, the practice of pest control and public health are intricately related. For example, PMPs perform “practical public health entomology” every day, providing society a valuable health function by preventing and controlling arthropod and vertebrate pests that carry diseases.
Despite what you hear from the anti-pesticide segments of society and activist groups, pest control efforts are recognized as important (even indispensable in tropical countries) by governments worldwide and the World Health Organization. There is a pesticide-friendly position statement on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website about the importance of mosquito spraying as part of an overall program. The CDC realizes the importance of pesticides in mosquito control and supports their use as part of an overall mosquito control program (http://1.usa.gov/W5vpAY). To get some perspective, I think it’s important occasionally to revisit where we are today and how we got here. The following article explores the origins of pest control and public health.
A long history. Long before anyone understood the “germ theory” or causes of medical conditions, it was recognized that insects might produce diseases. The ancient Babylonians worshipped a god of pestilence, which was represented as a two-winged fly, so they must have somehow related flies with disease. About 2500 B.C., a Sumerian doctor inscribed on a clay tablet a prescription for sulfur in the treatment of itch, a substance we now know kills itch and chigger mites.