Florida travelers are catching serious mosquito-born diseases abroad, including dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria and Zika virus. Still, officials say the numbers are low and there’s no reason to panic.
Mosquitoes, it turns out, might be their own worst enemy.
In a six-month field trial launched in South Miami last year, Miami-Dade County teamed up with a Kentucky-based pest control company to release male mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia. The bacteria is common in other insects, but when introduced in male Aedes aegypti, it makes them sterile.
The next great insect repellent might come from a strain of bacteria that lives inside a common parasitic worm.
A study published Wednesday in Science Advances has found that a compound derived from these bacteria is three times more potent than DEET in repelling mosquitoes. More research must be done to demonstrate its safety, but this bacterial chemical could play an important role in the fight against mosquito-borne illness.
One human case of West Nile virus infection has been confirmed in Duval County, according to the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, which increases officials’ concern over transmission, according to a news release.
Tiny, pesky and deadly, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are super at spreading disease, including dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus. Yet all over the world, scientists, nonprofits and biotech companies are raising hordes of this species to release into the wild.
Why is that?
For decades people have relied on industrial pesticides to beat back mosquito populations and limit the diseases they spread. But with continued use, some pesticides lose their effectiveness as the bugs build up resistance.
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.
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.
A federal judge has dismissed a request to stop aerial spraying of the pesticide Naled in Miami-Dade County, describing the plaintiffs' complaint as "poor" and recommending they get a lawyer before pursuing further legal action.
To address a growing population of black salt marsh mosquitoes, Miami-Dade County officials will conduct aerial mosquito spraying Thursday night beginning at 8 p.m.
The salt marsh mosquitoes don’t transmit the Zika virus but do bite humans and can spread heartworm to dogs. County officials say they’ve recently seen large numbers of the mosquitoes in their traps, and have received numerous complaints from callers.
Last summer’s wave of local transmission of the Zika virus hasn’t yet bled into 2017 , but officials from Key West to West Palm Beach are gearing up for another round of mosquito control by creating new staff positions, adding more equipment and increasing outreach efforts.
A brood of salt marsh mosquitoes borne from high tides along Southwest Florida’s coastal mangroves descended on Collier County this week, unleashing a “horrendous” torrent of insects that experts say is the worst they’ve seen in a decade.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is saying the federal government is shortchanging the state when it comes to doling out money to fight the transmission of the Zika virus. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Katie Sanders of PolitiFact Florida to see if it's true.
There are now more than 1,200 cases of the Zika virus in Florida, and about a fifth are locally contracted cases via Florida mosquitoes. So, health officials are reminding Floridians to continue taking preventive measures to combat the disease.