Why Brazil is Planning to Raise and Release 5 Billion Mosquitoes Every Year – Evening Edition of West
The Plan Behind Raising Mosquitoes
Brazil has been suffering from a high number of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and Zika for years now. To combat this, Brazil is planning to raise and release 5 billion mosquitoes every year. Officials from Brazil’s Mosquito Factory confirmed that they aim to release newly hatched male mosquitoes as they do not bite, and it is the female mosquitoes that are responsible for transmitting diseases. The male mosquitoes are genetically modified and have a shorter lifespan than females with a self-limiting trait. The mosquitoes will be released in urban areas, and as they mate with female mosquitoes, their offspring will die.
How the Mosquitoes are Modified
The mosquitoes produced at Mosquito Factories have been genetically modified and have a trait known as self-limiting. The scientists have added a lethal gene in the mosquitoes that will only allow male mosquitoes to survive to adulthood. When these males mate with the female mosquitoes responsible for spreading deadly diseases, the offspring inherit the lethal gene, and they die before they become mature enough to reproduce. This takes care of the disease-carrying mosquito population, leading to a reduction in the number of mosquito-borne diseases.
The Expansion of the Mosquito-Release Program
At the moment, Brazil is releasing modified mosquitoes in specific regions only, but the Brazilian Mosquito Factory plans to increase the number of mosquitoes released each year to combat the endemic diseases. The program has seen an effective reduction in disease-carrying mosquito populations, and this could lead to massive benefits like reducing the cost of treating outbreaks of diseases.
Controversies Surrounding the Release of Modified Mosquitoes
The idea of releasing modified mosquitoes has met with criticisms from different groups. These groups have concerns about the release of suicidal genes into nature and the effects of releasing too many genetically modified mosquitoes with unknown consequences. However, the Mosquito Factory team assures the public and the government that the risk of any adverse effect of the program is minimal, and they have to show the public that the method is safe for use.
The Importance of Mosquito Reduction
Mosquitoes are a significant cause of mosquito-borne illnesses and deaths around the globe. The World Health Organization has estimated that mosquito-borne diseases cause over 1 million deaths globally every year, with approximately 300-500 million cases of dengue fever alone being reported annually. Hence, reducing the number of disease-carrying mosquitoes is critical to combating these diseases.
The plan to release billions of modified mosquitoes into Brazil’s urban areas could turn out to be a game-changer in the war against mosquito-borne diseases. While the idea has been met with criticisms, Brazil’s Mosquito Factory team hopes that the program can control mosquito populations and reduce the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases. The success of this program could lead to a significant reduction in the global burden of mosquito-borne diseases.
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Summary: Brazil is planning to raise and release 5 billion genetically modified male mosquitoes every year to combat mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and Zika. The modified mosquitoes have a self-limiting trait that makes their offspring die, thus reducing the number of disease-carrying mosquitoes. While the program has been met with criticisms, Brazil’s Mosquito Factory aims to increase the number of mosquitoes released every year to combat endemic diseases. #HEALTH