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mosquito control

Public health officials confirmed the 18th case of dengue fever in Hillsborough County this year.

But this case is different- while the first 17 were travelers who got sick when they returned from a trip, this one contracted the fever from a mosquito locally.

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.

Rainy season in South Florida means it's also mosquito season. And now there's a new weapon being added to the arsenal against the insects in the Florida Keys.

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.

Peak mosquito season is coming and Miami-Dade County officials say they are ready to fight it with a new weapon: a bacteria that makes mosquitos sterile. 

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said in a press conference Wednesday that the county will be using the Wolbachia bacteria to handle the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is seen as being primarily responsible for transmitting diseases like Dengue and Zika.

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.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials say genetically modified mosquitoes are not "drugs" and should be regulated by environmental authorities.

A meeting between Miami-Dade County officials and county residents concerned about aerial mosquito spraying was cancelled Monday.

When Monroe County held a nonbinding referendum last year on whether  to allow the experimental release of genetically modified mosquitoes, most voters said yes.

This was as the mosquito-borne Zika crisis was exploding. The Food and Drug Administration had already started to clear the way for the field trial.

But residents of Key Haven--the proposed site of the mosquito control experiment--voted against it. And the company that breeds the mosquitoes started looking for another site.

State Reports Dozen More Zika Cases

Aug 8, 2017

Florida health officials added another 12 reported cases of the Zika virus during the past week, including the first sexually transmitted case in 2017, according to information posted on the state Department of Health website.

A chemical used for mosquito control in South Florida has been the source of controversy in recent weeks, after a study showed it could be linked to developmental delays in infants.

While mainland South Florida ramps up its battle against the mosquito that can carry Zika, the Florida Keys has already begun the region's most intensive mosquito control operation.

When he had a landscaping business, Bob Hartmann grew 200,000 orchids and thousands of other plants on his three acres in Southwest Ranches, about 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale.

 



Weeks after a study linked a pesticide used for mosquito control to slight motor delays in babies, officials in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties say they plan to use that pesticide in aerial spraying scheduled in the coming week.

Wikimedia Commons

Summer is upon us and that means more of the bugs that made international headlines last year – mosquitos. What progress has been made in the fight against the Zika virus? Can we cure Zika, or prevent it? And what can residents do to help?

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.

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.

Here we go again.

A Senate panel approved a bill that authorizes an additional $100 million in grant funding to fight the mosquito-carrying Zika virus. The bill could now be voted on by the full Senate before summer begins, but only if Congress doesn’t repeat last year’s delay that saw the money tied up by political wrangling for months.

The money approved Tuesday would fund local mosquito-control efforts, centers that test for the virus and research into improving mosquito-control programs.

Florida Researchers Find 2 New Invasive Mosquitoes

Jan 11, 2017

University of Florida researchers say they've found two new disease-carrying mosquito species in the state for the first time.


Travelers to Cuba should bring lots of mosquito repellant -- not just for themselves.

The Zika virus is being spread by mosquitos in Cuba, so travelers are being told to bring bug spray to protect themselves.

Mosquito control and health officials are hoping mosquito prevention is on the minds of Floridians preparing for Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricanes can create perfect conditions for an explosion in mosquito populations.

Miami Herald photographer Carl Juste wanted the best possible shot of the mosquito control plane that was aerially spraying Miami Beach.

So just before 6 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18, he drove to the top of the parking garage on Collins Avenue and 16th Street, got out of his car and started taking pictures.

Miami-Dade Gets $5 Million For Zika Fight

Aug 23, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott said Monday the state is sending $5 million to Miami-Dade County to help in the ongoing effort to stem an outbreak of the Zika virus.

NIH official: Gulf Coast states most vulnerable to Zika

Aug 22, 2016

A National Institutes of Health official says the Zika virus could "hang around" the United States for a year or two.

When students head back to school in South Florida, they’ll get supplies they don't typically see.

The state will deliver mosquito repellent to school districts, colleges and universities in hopes of stopping the spread of Zika.

Airplanes dispersed insecticide over Miami early Thursday morning, and according to officials they’re already seeing a lot of dead mosquitos.

Gov. Rick Scott and Dr. Tom Frieden—who heads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—made the announcement at a press conference in Doral on Thursday afternoon.

“As you know, they did aerial spraying this morning and they killed a lot of mosquitoes,” said Scott.

While investigations regarding what might be the nation's first locally acquired cases of Zika in Miami-Dade and Broward counties continue, public officials warn South Florida residents to take an active part in preventing mosquito-breeding zones. 

Chalmers Vasquez, Miami Dade County's mosquito control manager, says it is up to communities to keep their neighborhoods from becoming mosquito-breeding zones. 

The Florida Department of Health is investigating a possible non-travel related case of Zika in Miami-Dade County.

Florida confirmed 11 new cases of the Zika virus Wednesday – the most new infections logged in the state during a single day.

Florida Keys officials have delayed a referendum on releasing genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the population of a disease-carrying species.

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