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Should humans cure Zika at the cost of mosquito's extinction?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/18/2016 Category: Health
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 346 times Debate No: 94811
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




As of right now, humans are treated as the priority. No matter how you might think of animals as an equal - You put yourself first. As of today, Zika is killing, and ruining lives of children, and it's only getting worse. The extinction of mosquito can quite cause turmoil in the ecosystem, but it's nothing a creature can't adapt to over time. I believe if Zika can be eliminated along with the mosquitos, then it's worth it.


Firstly I would like to thank Pro for creating this debate and I am excited to participate on it with you.

Secondly, as Pro has not stipulated any ground rules for the debate, I will present basic rules here:
  • First round shall be argument presenting, no rebuttal may be made in this stage
  • Second round may address the first rounds arguments and present further ideas
  • Third round may address the second rounds arguments, however no new arguments may be made
  • Fourth round will consist of closing statements. No new arguments or rebuttals may be made here

Common practice rules will also be understood to take place such as a lack of plagiarism, insults or deviation from the debate at hand, etc..
My Argument

I believe that the extermination of mosquitoes for the sake of dealing with the Zika virus would be a terrible knee-jerk reaction to a problem that might be better suited to a softer touch. In this day and age dealing with mosquitoes can be as simple as applying appropriate insect repellent and insuring reasonable skin coverage in areas with known mosquito infestations.

Regarding the Zika virus itself: Whilst it has the potential to develop into more hazardous diseases without proper care, the Zika virus is largely a minor condition that clears up within "2-7 days" as reported by the World Health Organization here:

Additionally, mosquitoes are an important aspect of the ecosystem, whereby they act as a nutritional source for aquatic, insect, and avian life. In their larval stage, mosquitoes filter out algae from water sources (in which they are born and grow within) converting it to tissue matter. This already acts as a means of reducing algae content within water sources, reducing the likelihood of algae blooms and preventing the resulting death of the wildlife within the water. Furthermore, fish and other aquatic life eat these larva and so extinction would remove a food source for smaller fish. This could in turn reduce the numbers of small fish, cutting into larger aquatic life's food-source and further damaging the aquatic ecosystem. Mosquitoes once in their adult stage also act as foodstuffs for insect and avian life. Extinction could negatively effect these organisms, further impacting the land based ecosystems.
This is detailed in Dr. Gilbert Waldbauer's book, "The Handy Bug Answer Book" found here:

In summary, whilst the Zika virus is a hazard at present to the human race, managing it is not unreasonable at a day to day level, and treatments are almost always sufficient for a full recovery. Progressive diseases as a result of Zika are a potential complication however these are rare despite mainstream media's attempt at fear-mongering. Whilst a treatment for the complications of Zika should be looked towards, the standard virus is not of consequence enough to require as grave a 'cure' as extermination of all mosquitoes.
Debate Round No. 1


First off, I'd like to evince my gratitude for your posted rules and shenanigans. I'm new to this website and had no clue what I was doing.

The Zika virus, as of today, is considered more than simply mild. This virus, if infected by, during pregnancy has a possibility of leading to Microcephaly and severe brain damage/disease, as well as other heavy symptoms.

Mosquitoes are important to the ecosystem. However, it is impossible to predict what's to come if mosquitoes were to go into extinction, committing this deed is, in fact, risky, however, many argue that mosquitoes aren't a major, source of food to the ecosystem, even if they were, mosquitoes aren't the lone source of food for aquatic creatures. Moreover, the loss of mosquitoes and it's impact is nothing a species can adapt to over the course of a decade or so. Right now, people have developed no vaccine for this disease, as the already evolved virus has a chance to evolve further. It is more than simply lies to elicit fear and attention now.

And if you think repellant and skin coverage is gonna work - you know they'll getcha' sooner or later.


Pro stipulates that "The Zika virus, as of today, is considered more than simply mild".

This is purely individual opinion of the disease and is not backed up by any meaningful source. The World Health Organization however states that the Zika Virus symptoms are considered "mild" [1] where complications are not present. This, as stated previously, usually clears up within 2-7 days. WHO's guidelines for Zika treatment is as follows: "Zika virus disease is usually mild and requires no specific treatment." further demonstrated that Zika itself, outside of complications, is largely harmless.

Regarding Pro's comment that infection "during pregnancy has a possibility of leading to Microcephaly and severe brain damage/disease" is unsupported by a source. I shall however comment on this.

The "severe brain damage/disease" I assume you are referring to is known as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and there is a strong consensus that the disease and infection by the Zika virus are connected. The amounts of infection however remain extremely low, even in areas known to be undergoing a Zika outbreak as explained by the CDC [2]. As a result, despite the clear evidence that Zika causes GBS, the levels it is caused in are low enough that standard mosquito preventative measures should be sufficient to minimise risk of contracting the disease.

The WHO have stated that fetal Microcephaly, induced by contraction of the Zika virus has shown clear consensus also. However they additionally state that "Most women in Zika-affected areas will give birth to normal infants". A paper by Messina et al. [3] has even demonstrated a number of alternative causes for the increase in Microcephaly in newborns. These are predominately socio-economic and demonstrate that the vast majority of cases are in poorer families, living in areas that utilise banned pesticides, and that have poor sanitation. As WHO states there is a connection between Zika and Microcephaly, I will instead focus on the data presented here and not that Zika and Microcephaly are unrelated. Particularly that Messina et al. have shown that Zika is highly specific to poorer areas. It is not too great a leap of logic to theorise that these areas have difficulty deploying standard mosquito repellent methods. As the number of cases sharply drops off in more affluent areas, where preventative measures are more readily accessible, it is clear that these established methods are effective in reducing the danger of Microcephaly by Zika.

Pro stipulates that "many argue that mosquitoes aren't a major, source of food to the ecosystem".
As previously presented as a source, Dr. Gilbert Waldbauer's book [4] details a number of organisms that readily consume mosquitoes as a major foodstuff. Fang, (2010) details, in a paper published in Nature [5], that:

    • "In the absence of their larvae, hundreds of species of fish would have to change their diet to survive. "This may sound simple, but traits such as feeding behaviour are deeply imprinted, genetically, in those fish," says Harrison. The mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), for example, is a specialized predator — so effective at killing mosquitoes that it is stocked in rice fields and swimming pools as pest control — that could go extinct. And the loss of these or other fish could have major effects up and down the food chain."

Fang further goes on to state that many species of "insect, spider, salamander, lizard and frog", as well as "Most mosquito-eating birds" would be greatly effected by the eradication of mosquitoes which could result in a drastic negative effect on the Eco-system. Whilst pro stated that "the loss of mosquitoes and it's impact is nothing a species can adapt to over the course of a decade or so" the evidence demonstrates that this is simply not true. Whilst many species are likely capable of adapting to life without mosquitoes, it would only take a small number of species that are unable to adapt, to cause irreparable damage to the Eco-system. This small number of species are likely foodstuffs for other species. As a result, regardless of the vast majorities adaption, they will still be harmed by their own food's demise. With "3,500 named species" of mosquito whilst only a "couple of hundred bite or bother humans", the eradication of all mosquitoes would undoubtedly be horrific for the Eco-system in a manner that would return to humanity once more.

Pro stated in round 1 that "As of right now, humans are treated as the priority", however eradication of mosquitoes would only damage our own food supplies as both animal and plant organisms that we consume might be reduced in number. Whilst a small number of humans suffer from Zika complications now, such shortages could lead to far more deaths, and more starvation and poverty still.

I summarise that:

        • The Zika virus, where complications are not present, is categorised as mild and easily treatable, requiring no special care.

        • Complications of the Zika virus are rare

        • Preventative measures such as repellent and barrier methods are effective

        • Mosquito eradication would irreparably damage the Eco-system and, by proxy, the human race.

Debate Round No. 2


Guillain-Barr" syndrome? Truthfully, I had no idea of its connection to Zika until you made the mention. I was referencing to long-term memory loss, as well as effects similar to it.

The claim : "There are 3,500 named species of mosquito, of which only a couple of hundred bite or bother humans," by Janet Fang is random and unsupported by evidence, for humans have little ways of knowing how many species truly bite. In fact, the Illinois Department of Public Health, says only the " females of a few species, do not bite."[5] Neither sides to the claim have enough authority to safely assume what is dangerous and what isn't, proving this argument invalid.

You say the complications are rare - they kind of are. Unfortunately, we have limited data on the case, and so far, a definite percentage can't be made. However, with the given data, it's estimated that 270 of 10300 women will suffer from these consequences - that's nearly 3 people in every 100. [2] Now combine it with brain damage, long-term memory loss, and that GBS disease you mentioned earlier - It still can't be considered common, but I'd say the chances for complications are good enough for it to be considered "more than mild. The disease should NOT be looked at as "where complications are not present," and "where complications are present", rather as a whole, and a virus causing, fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain, headache, along with a 3 percent chance for one to suffer birth defects and long-term memory loss would naturally be considered more than mild. [5]

Extinction of the Gambusia Affinis or any similar creature is very unlikely for the reason of mosquitoes' disappearance, the mosquito fish would be the least of worries, for "Gambusia holbrooki do eat mosquito larvae. However as (Lloyd et al., 1986) found mosquito larvae only form a small part of their diet, many native fish actually eat a higher proportion of mosquito larvae."[3]most other creatures consume a vast array of animals, as well. Later in the article[4], Fang also mentions that "Most mosquito-eating birds would probably switch to other insects that, post mosquitoes, might emerge in large numbers to take their place. other insectivores might not miss them at all."(P.11)

Con also claims "Mosquito eradication would irreparably damage the Eco-system," But with the disappearance of mosquitoes, the flow is bound to continue, as that is the beauty in ecology. Either it's a drop in population of a specie, or an over population, our ecosystem adapts over time, regaining the balance it once had, this connected chain is often disrupted, though no matter how drastic, it always manages to come back.(e.g. Deer Population Through the 1900's)If mosquitoes were to all disappear, the smaller creatures would surely thrive, taking the place of them, and, creatures will adapt to this mosquito-less world, and the ecosystem would relocate it's lost balance in the morrow, making plentitude of for both us and the mosquito consumers - as long as the concept of time still exist.[4]

My Conclusion

The Zika virus has a high enough possibility for more severe consequences, arousing plenty of solicitude.

The ecosystem will - in time - rebalance itself.

Mosquitoes do not provide a large enough percentage of food value for animals to go in major population declines.

The claim in which only a few hundred mosquitoes species nag humans can't be made as a valid argument for there is no evidence to back up the claim.







Unfortunately I am not going to be able to find the time to complete this round as my next couple days are extremely busy and so, must concede this round. As a result, I will answer with speculation, however I do not have the time to find sources.

Your mention of the "Illinois Department of Public Health"'s claim is also unsupported with a reasearch paper, and so it is impossible to take this source as proof that the majority of mosquitoes bite. I would spend the time to find a paper detailing as such, but find myself without the time.

Pro even states that the complications are rare. Pro however then goes on to state "we have limited data on the case, and so far, a definite percentage can't be made" before in the same paragraph stating that "3 percent chance for one to suffer birth defects and long-term memory loss". This is however unsupported by the reference provided, and so should not be considered as valid information. In fact, the 270 used for those born with microcephely is only a potential number for those at risk, and not a definite number of those born with complications. As a result, this data is pure speculation. There is no 3% sufferage of complications after all. In fact, including all cases of Zika given in this example alone gives a 0.02% complication rate, and those are assumed complications.

Pro commented on Lloyd et al., (1986), however a paper 30 years old in a world where 2000 extinctions a year occur is hardly valid at this point. [1] Pro then quotes "many native fish actually eat a higher proportion of mosquito larvae.". this only goes to show that mosquitoes are widely eaten, and would cause more of a problem if they were to vanish. Whilst it is true that many birds would switch to different insects, a vast change in insect life would result in a drastic change in the eco-system. I am not suggesting that this would destroy all of life, but it could lead to wide scale extinctions as food stuffs change, species that normally exist in low numbers bloom, and predators die off. Pro states that "smaller creatures would surely thrive" and whilst this is true, this is dangerous. If many smaller animals undergo a species bloom, they will kill off their prey, destroy large areas of flora, and likely result in subsiquent mass death of their own species. Whilst the Deer population is recovering, this was only done with extensive human assistance. Should something much larger, for example the extinction of a species as wide as mosquitoes and not simply just confined to one area, occur. The results would be far more drastic, and equally more devastating.

Apologies for the small round.
Debate Round No. 3


I apologize for this event to be cut short and this was the most fun thing I had done in a while, this would normally be my closing statement, but since that happened, I'll go on to rebut anyways to clear up some confusions ;)

I can't understand where 0.02% came from. 270/10300 = 0.26 = 2.6% And the ones saying that had access to all of Zika virus data, making an average, and that's the closest we're going to get to. Sorry if I misunderstood you.

1986 is the date of birth of Lloyd. Not when the paper was written.

I did not claim the Illinois Department of Public Health's claim was valid, but rather, I quote from my previous argument "Neither sides to the claim have enough authority to safely assume what is dangerous and what isn't, proving this argument invalid." I didn't say they were correct, because they were unbacked by evidence either, but instead saying, neither side had authority to assume what is dangerous and what isn't, I literally spent 3 hours searching for these evidence, and drew blank, therefore saying the entire argument should not be used.

Smaller animals would undergo a species bloom due to mosquitoes being missing, but they in turn replace roles of the mosquitoes. Like I previously mentioned, the ecosystem balances, and with the species blooming, birds and aquatic creatures will then replace their daily meal with those animals, balancing the population, therefore not having enough of them to cause their prey's extinction, like I said, the ecosystem balances itself.

I'm elated to have had this opportunity with you and I look towards a similar event like this in the future.


No apologies needed. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself as it was an interesting debate.

Regarding the 0.02%. That was just myself replying to the debate in the early hours as I was short of time, so some poor maths on my front.

Regarding the 1986, the standard format for referencing is [Name][Further names or et al.,][Date of publication] hence my comment. As this was in fact the birth date, obviously this point is moot.

I would not normally give a full rebuttal in the closing statement, but as you have. I will give one to this final point.
Regarding your comment, "Like I previously mentioned, the ecosystem balances, and with the species blooming, birds and aquatic creatures will then replace their daily meal with those animals". Whilst it is possible that the ecosystem will replace it's diet, the far stretching outcomes of this can not be underestimated. Assuming the ecosystem will balance itself is two-dimensional. Yes, the ecosystem will stabilise itself. However in what way it stabilizes itself could be devastating. A loss of mosquitoes could result in a loss of spiders, which results in an increase in other airborne insects, which results in the decline of other airborne insects. For example bees, which results in a massive decrease in crop pollination, resulting in huge losses of humanities food, resulting in mass starvation. This point is of course entirely speculation, but also entirely possible. We simply cannot know the far reaching effects of eradicating an entire species.

In short, I conclude that whilst the effects of not curing Zika are know. A mild disease with low levels of complications. The effects of eradicating all mosquitoes are entirely unpredictable. The threat of the unknown is far more dangerous than the threat of the known Zika virus.

I would like to thank Pro for giving me the chance to enjoy this debate, and I encourage the voters to vote Con.

Many thanks.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by IcyCream 2 months ago
Sorry for abusing this comment button, but I have to overall apologize for my inexperience and believe this debate has gone on far enough for a victor to be righteously decided. You are free to enter random words into round 4 if a dearth of time, and allow people to make a vote.
Posted by IcyCream 2 months ago
Also, my argument of the birthdate was invalid as well. I took a mere coincidence and looked at it as a fact, I appologize.
Posted by IcyCream 2 months ago
0.026, sorry for the typo
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