Ecuador wants to release 100,000 sterile male mosquitoes on the Galapagos Islands. The South American country hopes to reduce the number of mosquitoes and reduce the spread of dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses.
Islanders and tourists can contract the virus through mosquito bites. Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya viruses cause fever, rash, muscle aches, and nausea.
Ecuador is now trying to reduce the number of mosquitoes on the islands so that fewer people are bitten. Non-sterile yellow fever mosquitoes are used for this. Male mosquitoes are rendered sterile with a special technique.
Egg-laying males mate with fertile female mosquitoes, but the eggs that hatch are also sterile. With this, the number of mosquitoes in the islands should gradually decrease.
Fertile male mosquitoes are not mentioned in the test notification. They can still reproduce. Whether the impact of sterile mosquitoes is enough to reduce the population remains to be seen.
The number of dengue virus infections has increased rapidly in recent decades. Every year, around 90 million people worldwide become ill, RIVM reports. Children in particular can get very sick.
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