Zika

Danny Hwang

Peak mosquito season is coming and Miami-Dade County officials say they are ready to fight it with a new weapon: a bacteria that makes mosquitos sterile. 

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said in a press conference Wednesday that the county will be using the Wolbachia bacteria to handle the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is seen as being primarily responsible for transmitting diseases like Dengue and Zika.

Creative Commons

As the rainy season returns — along with the disease-carrying mosquitoes that reproduce in standing water — the public is getting another chance to comment on one proposed method for fighting mosquitoes.

Tick-borne illnesses have more than doubled in the United States over the past decade. 

Amanda Rabines / WLRN News

Mosquito season has officially arrived in Florida, although many would argue it never left.

That perception may soon become reality, according to new studies that show the higher temperatures brought on by climate change are already increasing the range and biting season for many mosquitoes, including the Aedes aegypti — the infamous carriers of viruses like dengue and Zika, which hit Miami hard enough in 2016 to scare off many tourists.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Lab-bred mosquitoes are flying in South Miami. It’s the latest effort to stop the type of mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.

Thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes will be flying near Miami to test a new way to suppress insect populations that carry Zika and other viruses.

Two years ago, when the Zika virus was first identified as the cause of microcephaly in babies, women were scared. Expectant mothers who got infected had no idea what the chances were of having a healthy baby.

Researchers have since learned that while Zika infection is dangerous, about 94 percent of babies born to women infected with Zika appear to be normal at birth.

State Zika Cases Reach 200 In 2017

Oct 29, 2017

Florida has had 200 cases of the Zika virus in 2017, with most stemming from people who contracted the disease elsewhere and brought it into the state, according to information posted on the Florida Department of Health website.

Florida health officials are reporting the state's first case this year of the Zika virus transmitted by a mosquito.

Oxitec

The company that wants to hold the first U.S. trial of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys and Keys residents who oppose the trial don't agree on much.

But representatives from both sides said Thursday they are happy with the recent announcement that federal oversight of the proposed trial will be moved from the Food and Drug Administration to the Environmental Protection Agency.

"We think it's a good thing," said Derric Nimmo, principal scientist at Oxitec, the company that has developed a genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

A team of researchers has prevented Zika virus infection in monkeys —and they hope the new approach can be developed for use in pregnant women.

The small experimental trial found that monkeys given a cocktail of known Zika antibodies—special proteins the immune system makes to stop a virus—did not develop Zika after they were exposed to the virus.

State Reports 14 More Zika Cases

Aug 22, 2017

The number of Zika cases reported in 2017 in Florida jumped about 10 percent during the past week, with the total reaching 151, according to information posted Monday on the state Department of Health website.

coniferconifer / flickr

When Monroe County held a nonbinding referendum last year on whether  to allow the experimental release of genetically modified mosquitoes, most voters said yes.

This was as the mosquito-borne Zika crisis was exploding. The Food and Drug Administration had already started to clear the way for the field trial.

But residents of Key Haven--the proposed site of the mosquito control experiment--voted against it. And the company that breeds the mosquitoes started looking for another site.

Travel-Related Zika Cases Top 100 For 2017

Aug 15, 2017

While officials say mosquitoes are not believed to be transmitting the Zika virus in Florida, the state's number of “travel related” cases this year has topped 100, according to information posted Monday on the Florida Department of Health website.

State Reports Dozen More Zika Cases

Aug 8, 2017

Florida health officials added another 12 reported cases of the Zika virus during the past week, including the first sexually transmitted case in 2017, according to information posted on the state Department of Health website.

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