Unique effort underway to control deadly mosquitos in Florida Keys
K. Corso and L. Aguirre,
According to the World Health Organization, more than 50% of the world’s population is under the threat of mosquito borne diseases. In South Florida, the Keys are a hot spot for infection and now the first place in the United States for a novel approach to eradicating these deadly insects. A mosquito control effort in the works for over a decade is now off the ground. The Oxitec Project uses genetically modified Aedes Aegypti male mosquitos to mate with females of the Aedes Aegypti species which carry some of the deadliest diseases “Ades Aegypti themselves are responsible for transmitting Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, Zika virus, said Andrea Leal, entomologist and executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. Only the female mosquitos bite so the Oxitec Project targets the female population of the species. “So with this project, we’re releasing males only and they’ve been modified with a female lethal gene which means as they go out and they mate with our wild females, all those female offspring will die,” Leal said.
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