New Tool for Battling Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes Approved


The EPA has just released a permit for a cutting-edge technology designed to control the disease carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito. The technique, pioneered out of the University of Kentucky, under the leadership of Dr. Scott Dobson and his team, is based on an all-natural solution to mosquito control. Male mosquito eggs are infected/injected, using microscopic needles, with the Wolbachia bacterium.

This cutting edge technology, is harmless to humans. When Wolbachia infected male mosquitoes mate with female that are not infected, none of the offspring hatch. While similar to the controversial Genetically Modified Mosquito project targeted for the Key Haven, FL community, there are none of the associated risks and uncertainties that have long been a point of serious controversial concern for the Keys citizens.

The FDA issue an Expanded Experimental Use Permit for Monroe County, FL to begin treating high concentration areas of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes with a new bio-pesticide technology. This solution for mosquito control also would eliminate any need for those pesticides used to combat the Aegypti population. Currently the controversial pesticide Naled is being sprayed in South Florida, raising concerns about massive bee and butterfly deaths as well as the potential carcinogenic side effects.

Testing of Wolbachia infected male mosquitoes in the US has been on-going in Fresno County, CA since May of this year. Earlier testing with the Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger), also a threat in the Keys, was completed earlier this year and a nationwide commercial use permit from the EPA is expect later this month.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is associated as the primary mosquito in spreading the current Zika outbreak throughout many areas of the world, along with its historical role in spreading other viruses like Dengue, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever and West Nile.

The program, as approved for the Keys, includes a 337 acre potential distribution area, which could relieve all of Key West of the most concerning high concentration areas of the disease carrying insect.

The opportunity to test this technology was largely driven by the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition. The organization has been persistent in its search for better solutions than that offered via the GM mosquito technique. Former Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Director Michael Doyle authorized Dr. Dobson to apply for the permits early this year and the permits were actually delivered 4 weeks in advance of expectations, with permission to use on endangered species, since it has been shown to be harmless to other inhabitants by the EPA.

FKEC has been engaged for over 4 years in protecting the communities of the Keys from inadequately vetted Genetically Modified Mosquito experimentation in the Keys that would put the health of the community and ecosystems at risk. FKEC is a non-profit, science driven, coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations, established in 2010 in response to the Gulf oil spill. FKEC received unanimous endorsement from every elected official in Monroe County including each incorporated community within, to fulfill a mission to protect the ecosystems of the Keys.

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