mosquitoes

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  While Florida Keys residents debate the use of genetically modified mosquitoes ahead of a November referendum, a new survey finds that a majority of Floridians supports the concept.

Kate Stein / WLRN

As little kids, a lot of us lay awake imagining terrifying monsters that were coming for us. Monsters in our closets who'd spring out and get us if the night light wasn't plugged in. Monsters under our beds that would slither up and eat us if our moms left the room before we fell asleep. Monsters that knew our habits, our vulnerabilities.

Logan Riely / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY 

 

Dr. Esper Kallas shared a prediction about Zika with me earlier this year. And I could have made big bucks betting that unfortunately he’d be right.

As local cases of Zika virus continue to increase, this  week The Florida Roundup dedicated its full hour to an analysis of the political and economic dimensions of the outbreak of this virus in South Florida.

A square mile of Miami is now the hot zone for Zika and the threat of the virus-carrying mosquitoes. Pregnant women are warned about the neighborhood as aerial spraying begins. Where are the bugs? How big of a threat is Zika? And to whom?

Listen here: 

With more than 200 confirmed travel-related Zika virus cases throughout Florida, Pinellas County Mosquito Control is utilizing various tools to combat mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.

In eight locations across Pinellas County, there are a total of 56 sentinel chickens. Their job is to alert Mosquito Control officials to viruses present in various areas.

Last year, 53 chickens tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The areas affected were treated and there was only one person diagnosed with the virus.

THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA / WUSF

Professors from the University of Florida have developed a mosquito trap that they say could help prevent the spread of Zika virus.  

Professor Phil Koehler says the trap is proven to catch and kill mosquitos but the public might not be able use it this summer because it’s awaiting federal approval.

The professors have applied for emergency registration from the Environmental Protection Agency, which could bring it to the public in a matter of weeks instead of almost a year. Koehler said he’s hoping to have it approved for this mosquito season.   

WATCH: Mosquitoes Use 6 Needles To Suck Your Blood

Jun 7, 2016

It's not just idle curiosity that's got scientists hunting down all the bloody details of a mosquito bite. Bites from these bugs are more dangerous to humans than those of any other animal; mosquitoes kill hundreds of thousands of people each year worldwide, and sicken millions more.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  While Florida is focusing on the prospect of the Zika virus getting a foothold in the state, the focus in the Florida Keys is on Aedes aegypti, the mosquitoes that carry the disease.

That's because the British company Oxitec has proposed its first U.S. trial of a genetically modified version of the mosquito in a Keys neighborhood. The Cayman Islands, site of the first-ever field trial six years ago, recently agreed to go forward with releasing the Oxitec mosquitoes.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

While the FDA has released a preliminary finding of no significant impact from a proposed test of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, many in the neighborhood where the test would take place are opposed to the plan.

Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified version of aedes aegypti, is holding two public meetings in Key West this week to answer questions from the public, especially those in Key Haven. That neighborhood, a peninsula about five miles from Key West, is the proposed testing site.

Oxitec

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the public comment period to May 13 on a proposed field trial in the Florida Keys. The trial involves the release of a thousand genetically modified mosquitoes.

It would be the first such trial in the U.S. by Oxitec, a British company that genetically alters the males in the Aedes aegypti species. The modification causes the offspring of these males to die quickly.

jentavery / Flickr

The first cases of zika have been confirmed in Florida, and experts say more small-scale outbreaks are likely here.

 

At least three cases of the virus have been confirmed in Florida, including two in Miami-Dade County, according to multiple news reports. Matthew DeGennaro, a mosquito researcher at Florida International University, says he expects to see more cases, although the outbreaks will not be nearly as large as the ones ravaging the Americas.

 

In Florida Keys, Local Elections Carry a Sting

Oct 30, 2014
Florida Keys Mosquito Control District

In this election, voters in the Keys will cast some ballots that are unusual even for South Florida. They'll decide who leads the county's war on mosquitoes.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board meets once a month with one primary mission: "To make sure that there is no disease spread in the Florida Keys by mosquitoes," said Stephen Smith, the board's chairman.

Keys Prepare For Genetically Modified Mosquito Release

Oct 29, 2014
Javier Devilman / Flickr Creative Commons

Two storage rooms at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District's Marathon building are being converted into a temporary laboratory to raise genetically modified mosquitoes.

If the FDA approves, the Keys could become the first in the U.S. to release the mosquitos, which are intended to reduce the population of aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry diseases including dengue fever, malaria and chikungunya.

Mosquitoes In Miami: Is It Safe To Spray?

Aug 8, 2014
freedigitalphotos.net

Miami-Dade's Mosquito Control operation is the oldest in Florida. Operations manager Chalmers Vasquez says it started in 1935.

"There are two reasons that Florida became a state," says Vasquez. "Mosquito control and air conditioning."

The concept of mosquito control is two-fold: Spray to protect from diseases spread by mosquitoes like dengue fever, and now chikungunya, and to make a bug-infested swampland actually livable for people.

mamabird50/flickr

Like every other state, Florida has two statues in the U.S. Capitol that honor notable people in the state’s history. Dr. John Gorrie is one of them, because he pioneered a contraption in the mid-1800s that changed our lives: Air conditioning.

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