Could genetically modified mosquitoes reduce disease?

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Research is on-going to reduce the number of mosquitoes that are capable of transmitting diseases.

Ohio State University entomologist Dr. David Shetlar described how experts at The Ohio State University in Wooster are studying “genetic and physiological methods of managing mosquitoes so that they are unable to transmit diseases.”

The Zika virus, which is transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in tropical climates such as the Caribbean, South and Central America, has been linked to a rare nervous-system disorder and birth defects, including microcephaly that results in babies born with abnormally small heads and decreased brain growth.

The Ohio Department of Health has reported four cases in Ohio recently, all acquired by travelers abroad in areas where mosquito populations thrive.

One genetic modification under study that has shown substantial success in trials prevents eggs from hatching, after infusing males with bacteria before mating.

More than 50 cases of travel-related Zika virus have been confirmed in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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