Fighting Zika Virus with Sterile Mosquitoes
Last week, public health officials in Florida released thousands of bacteria-infected male mosquitoes into the wild near Key West in an effort to control the spread of Zika. The mosquitoes—infected with Wolbachia, which is not harmful to humans—will produce offspring that do not mature into adulthood, driving down the mosquito population.
Male mosquitoes do not bite and therefore do not spread mosquito-borne diseases like Zika. The plan is to release Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes twice a week for about three months. Another test involving sterile mosquitoes is also being considered.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversee efforts to control mosquito populations. Officials are seeking public opinions about which methods are preferred in local areas.
Image Credit: iStock