1M Mosquitoes a Week Are Being Released in Fresno, CA
20 July, 2017, 12:24 | Author: Hope Soto
Over the span of five months there will be about 20 million mosquitoes released in select neighborhoods in Fresno and Clovis.
The campaign, which starts on Friday, is run by Verily Life Sciences, which is part of Alphabet - the multi-billion company that owns Google, the world's biggest online search company.
Verily has partnered with MosquitoMate and Fresno County's Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District (CMAD) to test the method of releasing sterile males in order to control the population. When a Wolbachia-carrying male mates with a wild, local female, none of their offspring will be able to hatch.
While Fresno doesn't now have any of the diseases that Aedes aegypticarries around with it - Zika, dengue, yellow fever, chikunguya - all it takes is one infected visitor for the disease to establish itself in the local mosquito population.
"If we can show that this technique can work, I'm confident we can make it a sustainable business because the burden of these mosquitoes is enormous", said Verily engineering chief Linus Upson, who helped create Google's Chrome web browser and now leads Debug. "Additionally, our software algorithms and on-the-ground release devices will allow us to distribute the sterile male mosquitoes in an even and targeted way throughout Fresno's mosquito season". This field test could pave the way for much lower mosquito populations in future, and just as importantly, lower levels of diseases spread by mosquitoes worldwide.
"The control strategies we have are not as effective as we want them to be". Verily is looking into how to curtail the population of mosquitoes most likely to carry risky diseases within California. Hopefully, Verily and Google will prove this experiment was successful and it will become standard practice.
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