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Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes – What could possibly go wrong?


Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti (L.) and Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Skuse) are potential vectors of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses in the United States. A Zika virus outbreak in Florida in the summer of 2016, driven by Ae. aegypti and resulting in > 200 locally acquired cases of human illness, underscored the need for up-to-date information on the geographic distribution of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus in the United States. In early 2016, we conducted a survey and literature review to compile county records for presence of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus in the United States from 1995 to 2016. Surveillance for these vectors was intensified across the United States during the summer and fall of 2016. At the end of 2016, we therefore conducted a follow-up survey of mosquito control agencies, university researchers, and state and local health departments to document new collection records for Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. The repeated survey at the end of the year added Ae. aegypti collection records from 38 new counties and Ae. albopictus collection records from 127 new counties, representing a 21 and 10 percent increase, respectively, in the number of counties with reported presence of these mosquitoes compared with the previous report. Moreover, through our updated survey, 40 and 183 counties, respectively, added additional years of collection records for Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus from 1995 to 2016. Our findings underscore the continued need for systematic surveillance of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus.


Hahn, Micah B., Lars Eisen, Janet McAllister, Harry M. Savage, John-Paul Mutebi, and Rebecca J. Eisen. “Updated Reported Distribution of Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti and Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in the United States, 1995–2016.Journal of Medical Entomology (2017).

Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys  if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood.
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