MIAMI — Genetically modified mosquitoes are being released in the Florida Keys in an effort to combat persistent insect-borne diseases such as Dengue fever and the Zika virus, the Associated Press reported.
As reported by the AP, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and the Oxitec biotechnology company announced Thursday that release boxes, non-release boxes and netted quality control boxes are being placed this week in six locations: two on Cudjoe Key, one on Ramrod Key and three on Vaca Key.
Starting early next month, less than 12,000 mosquitoes are expected to emerge each week for approximately 12 weeks. Untreated comparison sites will be monitored with mosquito traps on Key Colony Beach, Little Torch Key and Summerland Key.
“We really started looking at this about a decade ago, because we were in the middle of a dengue fever outbreak here in the Florida Keys,” Florida Keys Mosquito Control District executive director Andrea Leal said during a video news conference. “So we’re just very excited to move forward with this partnership, working both with Oxitec and members of the community.”
Keys officials approved the pilot project last year involving the striped-legged Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is not native to Florida. The insect transmits several diseases to humans, particularly in the Keys island chain where dozens of cases of dengue fever were reported last year.
Click here to read the entire article.
Source: Associated Press