T his article originally appeared on The Conversation.. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved, on May 1, an experimental use permit which allows Oxitec to release genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys and Harris County, Texas, reports USA Today. It can easily be distinguished by the white bands on the abdomen. 2. Christopher Adams is a Texas-based journalist who spent several years as a staff reporter for two Texas newspapers before transitioning into freelance writing a few years ago. Despite an established relationship and much communication, it looks like the Florida Keys will be going solo. Quinquefasciatus,” she said via email. ... the medical director of pediatrics at Texas Children’s Health Plan. Pietrantonio said researchers have found mutations in Aedes aegypti indicating resistance to insecticides. Texas – Unfortunately, The Lone Star State has the most cases of West Nile Virus in the country. The mosquito season in the Northwest starts around mid-April and lasts until early October. State regulators in Florida and Texas recently approved a biotech company’s plan to release nearly a billion genetically modified mosquitoes.. “We had stakeholders there who wanted to use it,” said Kevin Gorman, head of field operations at Oxitec. Comments. Vector The vector is Aedes (rhymes with ladies) aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. The tighter the weave of the fabric, the better protection it will offer from bites. The website uses "cookies", which are elements of data that a website can send to your browser, which may then be stored on your system. Areas with a hot and humid tropical climate can experience mosquitoes year-round. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Dr. Mike Merchant) “You wouldn’t know that Oxitec mosquitoes have been released there because there’s no persistence of the transgene,” he said. “Most of these victims reported they were bitten at home,” Swiger said. Why Are So Many Soldiers Killing Themselves at Fort Hood? Some Relief is Coming for Houston Residents Who Fear Evictions. What Happened: A couple of months ago, British-based biotechnology company, Oxitec, received approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release approximately one billion genetically modified male mosquitoes in Florida and Texas, the decision took a step closer to reality after state regulators then approved the idea, despite the objection of many environmentalists … Dump or drain stagnant water and turn over or cover items that catch and hold water. The ecosystem appears to be safe from the introduction of these transgenic strangers. “There’s not many things that feed in large numbers on it. Mosquitoes can transmit viruses such as Zika, West Nile, malaria, dengue and more to humans. As the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S, the West Nile Virus is a serious concern in Texas. Four years ago, the Zika virus became an issue. In 2012, Texas experienced its largest outbreak of West Nile virus in history with over 1,800 confirmed cases. St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) is a viral illness spread from the bite of an infected mosquito. Females of this mosquito species, Aedes aegypti, transmit dengue, … Oxitec said it’s still open to releasing its mosquitoes in Texas. Talks about releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in Houston began in 2018 between Harris County and Oxitec, a United Kingdom-based company that produces sustainable technologies or transgenic methodologies to stem the impact of disease-spreading insects. Specific locations selected for release trials were never disclosed, said Iris Gonzalez, coalition director of the Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience, a Houston-based environmental advocacy group. The Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito species, a vector for West Nile virus, is much more prevalent than the Aedes aegypti in Texas urban centers such as Harris County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, said Patricia Pietrantonio, a professor in the department of entomology at Texas A&M University. She said this was concerning because “there is a disproportionate rate of higher density in lower-income communities in Houston and predominantly communities of color in Houston.”. Swiger says there are 85 species of mosquitoes in Texas, many carry a host of dangerous diseases especially Zika and the West Nile Virus. A release in Florida seems imminent, but not in Texas. For an up-to-date list of mosquito spraying activity during 2020, click here. Beginning next summer, they will also be released in Harris County, Texas, Oxitec said in … “At this time, there are no agreements or approval in place for Harris County to work with Oxitec in 2021. The Asian tiger mosquito, one of 85 species found in Texas. To learn more about mosquitoes, AgriLife Extension offers a Mosquito Control website and a Mosquito Safari. Gorman said the company’s mosquitoes eventually dilute out of the population without leaving a footprint. The SLE virus grows both in the infected mosquito and the infected bird, but does not make either one sick. Posted on June 25, 2020 by Rob Williams. Gravel or sand can be used to fill places where stagnant water collects. By Kelly Servick Jan. 16, 2020 , 2:00 PM. The state’s warm climate makes Texas a prime breeding ground for vector-borne illnesses, and recent weather conditions have only heightened the mosquito problem for many areas of the state. A plan to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in 2021 has won final approval from authorities in the Florida Keys, despite the objection of … Mosquitoes hibernate in the winter. “As an ecological tool, it’s super clean as a result. If you live in the country, you’ll typically encounter more mosquitoes during the day, especially when it’s wet, Swiger said. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Male mosquitos feed only on nectar, unlike their blood-sucking counterparts. Mosquitoes hibernate when temperatures remain under 55 degrees for a full week or we have three deep freezes in a row. “Aedes aegypti is more abundant in the Rio Grande Valley.”. There are species of mosquitoes that feed during the day and species that feed at night. Genetically engineered mosquitoes resist spreading any form of dengue. In May 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved experimental trials for Oxitec Corporation’s new GE mosquito for release in Monroe County, FL, and Harris County, TX.
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