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Jamaica to participate in genetically engineered mosquito pilot project

Published:Thursday | May 5, 2016 | 5:42 PM

Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter

Jamaica is to participate in an international pilot project to use genetically engineered mosquitoes to help control the insect population in the fight against diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya and ZIKV.

However, the Health Ministry says it has not yet made a decision to adopt the element of the programme to actually release the mosquitoes here.

Medical entomologist in the ministry, Sherine Huntley Jones, says the initiative is being led by the International Atomic Energy Agency and participating countries will receive capacity building to undertake research and certain tests.

The first meeting of participants in the pilot project is scheduled for July.

 

Medical Entomologist in the Ministry of Health, Sherine Huntley Jones

In the meantime, Huntley Jones says the Health Ministry continues to use several measures to reduce the mosquito population, especially the Aedes Aaegypti which transmits diseases such as Chik-V and ZIKV.

Today, the Cayman Islands announced that it will be using genetically engineered mosquitoes in its fight against mosquito borne diseases.

Premier Alden McLaughlin says the non-biting genetically engineered male mosquito will breed the female Aedes Aaegypti mosquitoes and the offspring will inherit a gene which causes them to die before reaching adulthood, ensuring that they do not reproduce.