Florida fights Zika virus by releasing thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes

My article is called ” Florida fights Zika virus by releasing thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes.” The link is ¬†https://www.independent.co.uk/news/florida-zika-virus-mosquitos-infected-bacteria-keys-wolbachia-aedes-aeqgypti-a7695706.html. The article was published on 04/21/17

Summary: The Mosquito Control District has injected 20,000 male mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria that prevents the eggs from hatching after mating. They’re going to release the male mosquitoes in several stages with the infected males outnumbering the wild males seven to one. The goal of this first trial is to prevent diseases like the Zika virus and Dengue fever from spreading to people through mosquitoes. This 12 week trial should dramatically lessen if not eliminate the amount of mosquitoes in the Florida Keys test area.

This applies to what we’ve been learning in class because it is a method to stop the transfer of pathogens. By using harmless to human bacteria, we can prevent the spread of disease to ourselves from other animals. If this works, it could also stop the spread of malaria and other diseases in Africa from mosquitoes.

I thought this article was interesting because mosquitoes are responsible for so many of the different diseases that are spread to humans. If we could find a way to stop this, then the quality of life rises for everyone. While I would prefer we didn’t have to eliminate the mosquito population, it could be worth it to lower the risk of disease for people.

Can you see any consequences from eliminating the mosquito population? Is it too good to be true?


1 Comment for “Florida fights Zika virus by releasing thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes”



The ecology of the situation is dynamic. This technique only controls mosquito populations for a year or two, so it needs to be repeated regularly (Cha-Ching!). The infected males quickly die out of the population and since they produce no viable offspring, the population bounces back.
There is one other thing to note: while Wolbachia is not known to be pathogenic in humans, the reason it was chosen was its lethality to insect embryos/larvae. The males do not bite humans since they don’t need to produce eggs. Only female mosquitos bite humans. That’s (part of) why males were selected. The other is that males mate more than once in most mosquito species (to my knowledge).