Nuclear technique cuts mosquito numbers in Cuban trial

M. A. Madsen,  IAEA,  2022.

A pilot trial of a SIT campaign was conducted between April and August 2020 in an area of 50 hectares in El Cano, an isolated neighbourhood of southwest Havana. Arroyo Arenas, another neighbourhood of similar size, was used as an untreated control site. In the pilot trial, almost 1.3 million sterile male mosquitoes were released. Male mosquitos do not carry dengue, bite, nor feed on blood. The IAEA supported Cuba in attaining equipment to separate male and female mosquitoes ahead of irradiation and release and helped equip mosquito rearing facilities. Prior to the trial, Cuba had little capacity in insect rearing and the IAEA supported Cuban fellows to be sent for training on the technique in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and at the IAEA laboratories in Austria. “Using the SIT for mosquitoes is relatively new anywhere in the world, and pilot trials like this one show how promising they can be,” said Rui Cardoso Pereira, Head of the Insect Pest Control Section at the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques for Food and Agriculture.

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