Originally posted on TED Blog:

The world’s most dangerous animal isn’t the lion, tiger or bear. It’s actually the mosquito.

“Mosquitos have killed more humans than any other creature in human history,” says Haydn Parry in today’s talk. “The mosquito has killed more humans than wars and plague.”

Every year, about a million and a half people succumb to malaria — even with technologies to prevent and treat the disease — while 50 to 100 million people a year are infected with dengue fever, a disease sometimes called “breakbone fever” that has grown 30 fold in the last half century. Spread by a species of mosquito from northern Africa — Aedes aegypti — the disease has skyrocketed because this mosquito and its eggs are so good at hitchhiking as human beings travel the world.

Traditionally, there have been two ways to control mosquitos in addition to nets and wearing covering clothing — larvicides, which kill…

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