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Australian experiment wipes out over 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes


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https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/10/australia/australia-mosquito-disease-experiment-intl/index.html

 

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Australian experiment wipes out over 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes

By Jessie Yeung, CNN

 

Updated 0658 GMT (1458 HKT) July 10, 2018

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito on human skin in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center (CIDEIM) in 2016.
 
An Aedes Aegypti mosquito on human skin in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center (CIDEIM) in 2016.

(CNN)In an experiment with global implications, Australian scientists have successfully wiped out more than 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes in trial locations across north Queensland.

The experiment, conducted by scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and James Cook University (JCU), targeted Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread deadly diseases such as dengue fever and Zika.
In JCU laboratories, researchers bred almost 20 million mosquitoes, infecting males with bacteria that made them sterile. Then, last summer, they released over three million of them in three towns on the Cassowary Coast.
The sterile male mosquitoes didn't bite or spread disease, but when they mated with wild females, the resulting eggs didn't hatch, and the population crashed.
"The invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito is one of the world's most dangerous pests," said CSIRO Director of Health and Biosecurity Rob Grenfell in a statement, describing the experiment as a victory.
"Although the majority of mosquitoes don't spread diseases, the three mostly deadly types -- the Aedes, Anopheles and Culex -- are found almost all over the world and are responsible for around (17%) of infectious disease transmissions globally."
The successful experiment offers a potential new solution against diseases which infect millions every year.
Many mosquito-spread diseases are difficult to treat. Some don't have effective vaccines, pesticides can be unsustainable, and methods such as clearing standing water are inefficient against mosquito breeding rates.
The Zika virus is an infamous example. Its explosive outbreak in 2015 infected millions worldwide, causing babies to be born with neurological disorders. Researchers raced to develop a vaccine, and many are still conducting trials.
An Aedes aegypti mosquito in a laboratory at the University of El Salvador, in San Salvador.
 
An Aedes aegypti mosquito in a laboratory at the University of El Salvador, in San Salvador.

The experiment

Although the process used in the experiment, called the Sterile Insect Technique, has been around since the 1950s, it has never been used for mosquitoes like the Aedes aegypti.
"We learned a lot from collaborating on this first tropical trial and we're excited to see how this approach might be applied in other regions where Aedes aegypti poses a threat to life and health," Kyran Staunton from James Cook University said in a statement.
Scientists in the Cairns region of Australia have also used similar techniques replace populations with mosquitoes that couldn't spread infections, according to ABC News.
This CSIRO-JCU experiment, however, aimed to eradicate those populations altogether, working in partnership with Verily, a health research organization owned by Google parent Alphabet.
Since the Aedes aegypti is an invasive species native to Africa, wiping them out in Australia wouldn't do much ecological damage in the country.
"The main ecological impact would be to restore the ecosystem to how it was before the mosquitoes invaded," according to Verily.
The experiment has been limited to north Queensland for now, but Verily may hold further field trials, the organization said.

 

 
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lamoe

 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito-borne_disease

Mosquito-borne diseases or mosquito-borne illnesses are diseases caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites transmitted by mosquitoes. They can transmit disease without being affected themselves. Nearly 700 million people get a mosquito-borne illness each year resulting in over one million deaths.[1]

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include: malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever,[1] filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis,[2] Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever, Barmah Forest fever, La Crosse encephalitis, and Zika fever.[2]

 

 

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Oz Jon

A good result!

But I'm not clear why this should be featured as a new idea?

I can remember CSIRO publishing similar experimental results ( breeding and releasing sterile male mosquitoes) decades ago. Those trials were successful in decimating a local mosquito population too.

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Jack Rat

I moved up to the Gold Coast in the mid nineties and purchased a property on 'The Shores,' an upmarket housing development near Lake Coombabah in Helensvale. The Mosquitoes eventually drove us away. No matter what precautions we took we were still bitten by the little buggers, they were so aggressive. Whenever we had a barbie or just sat around the pool having a few beers we supplied our friends with copious amounts of insect repellent . Even our two Siamese cats were driven inside. Dengue was a problem in those days but was played down as the Gold Coast was, and still is, a major tourist destination. I remember once or twice a year choppers spraying the area with chemicals which help keep the Mosquito population down a little but it was still a major ongoing problem. Hopefully this breakthrough can be used successfully in the future as Mosquitoes are seemingly still a major problem in parts of Queensland.  

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RogerDat

In 1971 our C123 aircraft carried sterile screw worm males to the Caribbean, and the modified Bird Dog spotter aircraft dropped the boxes over the islands, to get rid of the screw worm which devastated people and cattle, so the knowledge has been around awhile.

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DeedleNuts
17 hours ago, Oz Jon said:

A good result!

But I'm not clear why this should be featured as a new idea?

I can remember CSIRO publishing similar experimental results ( breeding and releasing sterile male mosquitoes) decades ago. Those trials were successful in decimating a local mosquito population too.

All that was old is new again ....

Maybe those old papers were not on the internet so no one knew? ?

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