EPA Approves Plan to Release Infected Mosquitoes to Stop Zika

Specially bred

After extensive testing in Kentucky, New York and California, the EPA has given MosquitoMate permission to release these infected mosquitoes in 20 states across the country and Washington D.C. These states were chosen because they're "similar in temperature and precipitation" to the three states where the tests were carried out.

Attack of the killer mosquitoes - but thankfully, they're not after us.

Kentucky-based biotechnology startup MosquitoMate was given US government approval to release bacteria-infected mosquitoes in several states.

The lab-grown mosquitoes are the Aedes albopictus species, also known as Asian Tiger Mosquitoes, the same species that carries viruses risky to humans. The eggs produced from the infected male and wild female mosquitoes will also be infected and won't hatch because the paternal chromosomes are infected with Wolbachia. This will reduce the amount of biting, disease-carrying lady mosquitoes.

MosquitoMate plans to sell its infected mosquitoes to cities, neighborhoods, businesses and homeowners who are looking for new ways to avoid the more harmful diseases that the insects can spread.

As MosquitoMate says, the best thing to find a mosquito is another mosquito.

.

The bacteria in the infected mosquitoes can not be transmitted to people or animals.

"It's a non-chemical way of dealing with mosquitoes, so from that perspective, you'd think it would have a lot of appeal", David O'Brochta, University of Maryland entomologist, told Nature.

Mosquito-spread diseases such as yellow fever, dengue and the zika virus will soon be fought in the United States... by mosquitoes.

The mosquitoes are licensed to sell in 20 states, including New York, New Jersey, and CT, and Washington, D.C., for five years, but they must also be registered in those jurisdictions before they can be used.

Brazil, which struggled with a Zika health crisis that reportedly ended earlier this year, helped reduce the threat using similarly genetically modified mosquitoes in addition to fumigation.

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