To combat disease-spreading mosquitoes in the Keys, leaders vote to unleash lab bugs
Florida Keys officials have voted to allow the experimental release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes into a yet-to-be-decided area of the island chain. The trial’s aim is to significantly reduce or eliminate the local population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are known to spread deadly diseases like Zika, chikungunya and dengue fever. The five member board of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District voted 4-1 during an online meeting Tuesday to allow international biotechnology company Oxitec to release the bugs.
The vote comes as the Upper Keys deals with an outbreak of dengue that has impacted primarily the Key Largo area. Forty-seven people have been infected so far this year, all of whom have recovered, according to state health officials.
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