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The Environmental Protection Agency is allowing a Lexington, Ky., biotech company to release mosquitoes infected with bacteria called Wolbachia pipientis to help prevent the spread of certain diseases like Zika and yellow fever, according to Newsweek.
The company, MosquitoMate, uses the infected males to target the Asian tiger mosquito -- Aedes albopictus -- responsible for spreading those diseases and others, the article states.
The theory goes that when the infected male skeeters mate with the females in the wild, the fertilized eggs won't hatch, thus decreasing the population.
There are 20 states approved for the release.
***Article updated on 11/14 at 10:40 a.m. with a U.S.-focused version press release from Rentokil*****
Rentokil Initial announced it has acquired Vector Disease Acquisition (VDA), a holding company with the largest mosquito control and lake management service divisions in the U.S. The acquisition greatly expands Rentokil North America’s expertise in the mosquito control field and adds to the company’s offerings with a robust lake service division.
Vector Disease Control International is headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., and has more than 50 offices in 31 states. With annual revenues for the 12 months prior to acquisition at approximately $47 million this is Rentoki’s largest U.S. acquisition since it acquired Steritech in 2015.
SOLitude Lake Management serves customers on the east coast from New England to Florida and also serves Texas and Colorado. SOLitude provides a variety of annual recurring services, including controlling invasive aquatic vegetation and algae in lakes and ponds owned by municipal, state and federal government agencies and private entities such as lake associations, golf courses, corporations and private homeowner associations. The Lake Management division is the largest of its type in North America.
In line with this acquisition, Rentokil North America is establishing a new Global Center of Excellence in Mosquito Control. Factors such as climate change and increased global travel make the transmission of vector-borne diseases an increased public health concern, raising the importance of mosquito control in the overall pest management market and heightening the need for experts in the field.
“Mosquito control is a vital part of Rentokil North America’s services, and adding Vector Disease Control to our portfolio and establishing our center of excellence makes our business even stronger. Both VDCI and SOLitude enhance Rentokil’s mission of protecting people and enhancing lives.” said John Myers, President and CEO, Rentokil North America. “Acquiring the lake services division adds to our growing list of capabilities with an entirely new service category.”
“We look forward to a smooth transition as we integrate our business into the Rentokil North America family and become a part of their Global Center of Excellence in Mosquito Control,” said Jason Pananos, co-owner of Vector Disease Acquisition, LLC. “Our team anticipates continuing to provide quality service to our customers throughout the country.”
“Vector Disease Control and SOLitude Lake Management will be great additions to Rentokil North America and will help us reach new customers,” said Jay Davis, co-owner of Vector Disease Acquisition, LLC. “The family of companies has a sterling reputation for service and expertise and we’re proud to become part of the team.”
This acquisition adds more than 250 fulltime employees and an additional 350 seasonal employees to the Rentokil North America family.
Paul Giannamore of The Potomac Company represented and acted as exclusive financial advisor to Vector Disease Acquisition, LLC.