letter to the editor

GM Mosquitoes: Forget the What-Ifs; Zika is a Public Health Emergency


by Walter Lagraves…….

Dear Editor:

On Saturday, 10/1, the national news and the Miami Herald reported that more Zika carrying mosquitoes had just been trapped in Miami Dade.

On Saturday, 10/1, the Fla Health Dept reported that there were 11 new cases of ZIKA in Florida. As of that date there were 808 known Zika cases in Florida…most of them in Broward and Dade. More than 1 in 10 of the cases involve pregnant women. Now there are at least 5 known Zika cases in Monroe County.

Mr. Bethune’s rambling 2300 word Friday missive [GMO Mosquitoes and the Selling of Bad Science] declaring his opposition to the use of GMO to help keep ZIKA and sundry other mosquito borne diseases away from the Keys was, hysterical. And I don’t mean funny.

Mr. Bethune somehow managed to weave nuclear holocaust, the use of mosquitoes in germ warfare, the prospect of bioengineering synthetic humans, the Tuskegee experiment, claims of official corruption, the evilness of “big business”, particle physics, the singularity of a Star Trek computer, and even a condemnation of anti bacterial soap into a single screed.. Mr. Bethune even suggested that the proposed use of GMO might well be a sinister plot on the part of the Defense Department.

All he left out was the suggestion that halitosis and foot odor are potential consequences of genetic engineering.

The hysteria has become manic.

But, there was a single ray of reason. Mr. Bethune granted grudging acknowledgment that big real estate has a motive to be opposed to the use of genetic engineering to kill mosquitoes. And yes, oppose it they do!

Once again we are slathered with a torrent of verbiage specifically designed to scare you. The overarching message he tries to sell is “what if….”, “just imagine if…”. and “what will happen if…..” If… if a frog had wings..his ass wouldn’t bump on the ground.

For all his verbiage, Mr. Bethune fails to cite any evidence whatsoever that the use of GMM in protecting the public health in several foreign nations over the course of several years has caused any harm whatsoever.

Mr. Bethune’s claim that Zika is primarily spread by sex is erroneous. According to the Virginia Department of Health, the primary vector is mosquitoes. The VDH states that: “The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti (Yellow fever mosquito).”

It is beyond denial that the Federal agencies that have jurisdiction over this process have issued a statement that the process is safe. That statement was a multi agency declaration. That fact infuriates the anti GMM crowd. It is a silver spike in heart of their anti GMM arguments. It is unvarnished fact.

Mr. Bethune, and the anti GMO crowd, are passionate in their arguments, but their passion has blinded them to the fact that Zika has been proclaimed to be a public health emergency. Not just here in the US, not just here in Florida, but also by the World Health Organization.

The anti GMO minions are dead set on denying the public the safe and efficacious use of GMO’s to combat the spread of Zika and other mosquito born diseases.

Mr. Bethune and the anti GMM crowd value the “what if” over the certainty that ZIKA is in our community and right now presents real danger to our citizens, especially the unborn. The anti GMO minions truly are the Skeeter Saviors. Shame on them.

Your vote to support the use of GMM in vector control will be a vote for public health and the safety of our unborn.

Walter Lagraves
Big Pine Key

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One thought on “GM Mosquitoes: Forget the What-Ifs; Zika is a Public Health Emergency

  1. Who is hysterical? Find a mirror for an awakening.

    Fear promotion? That is the very definition of the Zika hysteria.

    A University of Virginia paper says the primary vector is a mosquito? I think that absolutely untrue in this country. In a locale saturated with Zika-carrying mosquitoes, perhaps. Here, travelers are the carriers. Virginia is a little removed from the Zika epicenter to be doing much in the way of neighborhood field research, so my bet is that reference was simply parroted from some other “authority” – maybe even Oxitec literature or their marketing team’s presentation.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t feel I am being “denied” anything by not being included in Oxitec’s experiment. I just watched two very interesting TED Talk videos that explained in easily understood language just how the CRISPR gene splicing technology works. One of the speakers actually operates a genetic engineering lab. Instead of suppressing the Zika mosquito, the GM technology exists to make it incapable of carrying the virus or to eliminate the species completely. It is a better business plan to create a perpetual market instead, and that is what this is all about. Please take about 12 minutes to watch this TED talk and see how scientists now have the ability to create a “perpetual motion machine” of in-the-wild gene splicing that can transform life on earth. This will blow your mind: https://www.ted.com/talks/jennifer_kahn_gene_editing_can_now_change_an_entire_species_forever

    Personally, I think scientists would bungle any attempt at an improvement because of what they don’t know instead of what they do- with disastrous results. But if you feel “denied”, I suggest you volunteer to have your genes altered. That might well be an improvement, because I think your logic is seriously impaired by your hysteria, and it just might be genetic.

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