Feb 25, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Florida Releases Thousands of Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes to Wipe Out Viruses

Apr 19, 2017 07:09 PM EDT

Florida has released thousands of male mosquitoes on Tuesday in the Key West area to test a new way to eliminate Zika and other viruses. The method has been tested in Brazil and Colombia.

This time, the method is tested in Florida by Keys Mosquito Control District that releases 20,000 males mosquitoes on Tuesday, March 18. The mosquitoes have been infected with the Wolbachia bacteria by the MosquitoMate, the Kentucky-based company, as reported by ABC News.

The mosquitoes are lab-bred and the Wolbachia bacteria will disable the mosquitoes to produce the offspring when they mate with the female mosquitoes in the wild. The egg from the mating will not hatch according to MosquitoMate founder, Stephen Dobson.

Areas where the mosquitoes are released in the Lexington, Kentucky to Key West, through the cardboard tubes. This trial is expected to last for three months, and the mosquitoes will be released twice in a week. This will significantly reduce the mosquitoes population in the area, as Key West district tries to suppress the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread Zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya.

South Florida has prepared to battle the spread of Zika with the mosquito control and increase the collaboration between the state and federal government, according to Miami Herald. Florida Gov. Rick Scott in his visit to Florida health department in Miami promised a better relationship with the federal government. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deployed 78 staffs to Florida to help the state government combating the mosquitoes.

Zika began to infect Florida since January 2016, starting with a travel-related case. In June last year, a Zika outbreak appear in Wynwood, followed by a similar outbreak in Little River neighborhood and two sections of Miami Beach.

The method to use bacteria-infected mosquitoes has been used to reduce the Zika-carrier mosquitoes in Brazil and Colombia in October last year. The health experts expected this year, the similar method will also be applied on a large scale in the countries. Watch the report below:

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