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Waging War on Mosquitos

December 11th, 2015

Waging War on Mosquitos

Mosquitos have become a serious health risk throughout the world. The painful and sometimes fatal diseases that they transmit to humans kill roughly one million people a year, and bring suffering to hundreds of millions more. While the United States used to be pretty safe from this threat, that fact has changed due to the increasingly warmer climate. Officials are concerned that our country could be dealing with nationwide mass infections in the near future. Big, dense cities pose the greatest risk. Officials foresee millions of Americans becoming ill due to mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Because of these bleak forecasts researchers are working harder than ever to come up with a better way to control these pests, as the diseases they carry have no cures. The most promising solution comes from the British company Oxitec. They have grown male mosquitos in a laboratory that have been developed to have a lethal mutation. This mutation requires that they get certain, hard to find nutrients in order to survive. When these males are released into the wild, they mate with females, passing on the deadly gene, and soon die after their release when they don’t get the specific nutrients. Their offspring in turn also die off young. This method can markedly reduce the mosquito population in a relatively short period of time.

 

Are you up to date on the mosquito crisis? What do you think of this new control method?

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