AI, Citizen Science Helps Fight Mosquito-Borne Disease

AI, Citizen Science Helps Fight Mosquito-Borne Disease

by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Mosquito season is here, and with it, worry about diseases like Zika and West Nile. At the same time, it’s tricky to track and monitor mosquitos and the diseases they spread.  But a new approach using artificial intelligence could finally help researchers better understand how and where the insects are making […]

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EPA and FL Set To Begin Experimental Mosquito Program To Fight — Mosquitos

EPA and FL Set To Begin Experimental Mosquito Program To Fight — Mosquitos

The office that approves pesticides at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the trial release of 750 million genetically modified mosquitos in the Florida Keys and Texas.  Now the state and the county housing the Florida Keys have approved a pilot project for 2021 and 2022 as a way to defeat the spread of mosquitos that carry Zika and other diseases, while one county in Texas already approved its use in 2021.

Why This Matters:  Trust in government matters when it comes to approving an experiment like this one.  The problem here is that environmental organizations and local citizens groups do not have confidence that the EPA has their best interest at heart.

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EPA Grants Experimental Mosquito Permit, Studies Show Insect Populations Declining

EPA Grants Experimental Mosquito Permit, Studies Show Insect Populations Declining

The Environmental Protection Agency granted an experimental permit to Oxitec, a company with close ties to President Trump, that allows them to release in the Houston and Florida Keys areas genetically altered mosquitoes intended to help curb the spread of harmful diseases like Zika, chikungunya, and dengue.

Why This Matters:  Preventing the spread of harmful diseases is a good thing.  But it is hard to trust whether experimental permits like this one are in the public’s best interest when big donors to the President appear to get favorable treatment by government agencies.

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Surge In Dangerous Viruses Spread by Mosquitos, Climate Change May Be Why

Surge In Dangerous Viruses Spread by Mosquitos, Climate Change May Be Why

There have been eight locally-transmitted cases of dengue fever in Florida confirmed this year according to the Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, part of a global surge in the virus. Similarly, nine Americans have died this year of a virus called Eastern equine encephalitis, or “Triple E,” which is also spread by mosquitos and causes swelling of the brain.

Why This Matters:  Experts believe the surges in these mosquito-borne viruses are caused by climate change.

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