In many areas of the world, mosquitoes are a real nuisance. These hamper the life of the inhabitants but above all, are vectors of disease. In Florida, tens of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes will be released. The goal ? Generate a new generation of mosquitoes unable to survive.
Fight against diseases transmitted to humans
To fight against mosquitoes, one of the solutions used for several years is the release of genetically modified mosquitoes. In 2018 in Burkina Faso, the government authorized such a release in the west of the country in an attempt to eradicate malaria in the region. In 2014 in Brazil, the authorities had already released millions of genetically modified mosquitoes to fight the spread of dengue fever.
As explained in an article published by the channel NBC News on April 28, 2021, Florida (United States) is set to release no less than 144,000 male mosquitoes genetically modified. The goal? Fight against mosquitoes Aedes aegypti, these being vectors of diseases such as dengue fever, and yellow fever or even heartworm with regard to pets.
A radical means of control
These mosquitoes that Florida will release into the wild come from the British company Oxitec. This had already developed the insects of the Brazilian operation of 2014. According to this company, the mosquitoes in question do not bite and were simply created to mate with biting females. It is about ensuring that their offspring do not survive. For supporters of this method, it is a radical means of control of the mosquito population.
Recall in the archipelago of the Keys – at the southern end of Florida -, the species Aedes aegypti represented only 4% of the population mosquitoes. However, this same species is responsible for an overwhelming majority of diseases transmitted to humans. Andrea Leal is executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, the mosquito control organization in the Keys. The person concerned mentioned a mosquito resistance to some of the current control methods. Thus, there is a need here to use new methods.
Remember that this type of method is often contested, but the results still seem to be there. In 2016, a huge 3,500 m² factory was built in Canton (China) in order to condition and release into nature nearly 20 million mosquitoes changed every week. Before the appearance of this facility, researchers had carried out tests. By releasing 500,000 mosquitoes, they were able to halve the population of these insects in the treated area.