New paint wipes out infestation in a village

From the New York Times:

It happened just like that. One day Barbara Saavedra’s modest adobe home, deep in southeastern Bolivia, turned white — and miraculously, for the first time ever, bug-free. “The vinchuca were just gone,” said Ms. Saavedra, 39, a member of Bolivia’s indigenous Guarani people.

The vinchuca are Triatomine, or “kissing” bugs — large biting insects that live in the thatched roofs and mud walls of traditional homes like hers. They transmit a parasite that causes the incurable, and often fatal, Chagas disease.

The Chaco, the dry-forest region surrounding Ms. Saavedra’s village, is the epicenter of a worldwide Chagas epidemic affecting up to 10 million people, including one million in the United States. Ms. Saavedra’s family, and most of her neighbors, often slept outside to escape the bug’s nightly blood feedings.

The Chaco, the dry-forest region surrounding Ms. Saavedra’s village, is the epicenter of a worldwide Chagas epidemic affecting up to 10 million people, including one million in the United States. Ms. Saavedra’s family, and most of her neighbors, often slept outside to escape the bug’s nightly blood feedings.

Deliverance came in an unlikely form: On that August day, her home was slathered with a high-tech paint that kills disease-carrying pests like the kissing bug. Over the past decade, approximately 7,000 houses in the Chaco region have been covered with the paint, known as Inesfly. . .

Developed by a small Spanish company called Inesba, the paint has not yet been fully evaluated by the World Health Organization; until it is, public health officials in many countries will not incorporate it into disease-control programs. But experimental efforts against a range of pests in South America, Mexico and Africa have produced promising results.

To read the complete story, click here.

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