Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

To Help Reduce Mosquito Population, Scientists Are Unleashing 20 Million Of Them

'Mosquito factory' churns out sterile males produced without genetic modification to fight Zika Discovery of mosquito linked to Zika Virus no cause for concern
Connie Andrews | 23 July, 2017, 01:23

According to the team's results, even in the absence of the current mosquito control and disinsection measures, humans were still 100 times more likely to spread disease.

While it may sound counter-intuitive, the scientists plan to release millions of sterile male mosquitoes so they can mate with wild female mosquitoes.

Aptly named Debug Fresno, the project will be executed by Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is Google's holding company.

While Fresno doesn't now have any of the diseases that Aedes aegypticarries around with it - Zika, dengue, yellow fever, chikunguya - all it takes is one infected visitor for the disease to establish itself in the local mosquito population. The effort will ramp up to the full 1 million mosquito capacity over the next week, Kathleen Parkes, a Verily spokesperson, told The Verge in an email.

"It's a awful nuisance, a bad biting nuisance".

The release marks the launch of Debug Fresno, a field study that aims to rid the central California county of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. More than 5,300 symptomatic Zika cases were reported to the CDC since early 2015, but a majority of those cases were related to US citizens travelling to affected areas. Vectors that can transmit Zika virus are or have been previously found in USA territories and some US states.

A GIANT TECHNOLOGY firm is about to release up to 20 million infected mosquitoes into the centre of California this summer.

The male mosquitoes are raised in machines and are infected with Wolbachia, a natural bacterium. Workers who are exposed on the job to mosquitoes or the blood or other body fluids of infected individuals may be at risk for occupationally acquired Zika virus infection.

"Over time, we hope to see a steep decline in the presence of Aedes aegypti in these communities", Verily said in a statement.

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