Efforts to control mosquitoes take on new urgency | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Efforts to control mosquitoes take on new urgency

The major mosquito spreading Zika virus has quirks that make it one of the toughest to fight

10:42am, March 17, 2016
Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae

SCIENCE VS. MOSQUITO  Geniuses at growing in tiny containers of water, larvae of Zika-spreading mosquito Aedes aegypti dangle head down at the water’s surface. 

Brazil, now a poster child for mosquito-borne virus spread, was once a model for mosquito eradication.

“It was amazing,” says Dan Strickman, medical entomologist with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, today identified by epidemiologists as one of the carriers of the Zika virus, was attacked in the 1930s with the simple tools then available. By 1965, the mosquito was certified as eradicated from Brazil and 17 other countries in the Americas (but not the United States). The feat took ferocious effort, but as the threat dwindled, so did money and the political will to stay vigilant. 

Whether eradication would even be possible now is unclear. But the question of how to cope with Ae. aegypti has taken on new urgency as that mosquito species sweeps Zika virus through South and Central America and into parts of North America. Known as the yellow fever mosquito, Ae. aegypti can also spread dengue,

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content