Nuclear Technique Cuts Mosquito Population In Cuba

A pilot experiment of Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) was conducted between April and August 2020 in an isolated neighborhood of Havana. In this study, almost 1.3 million sterile male mosquitoes were released in the area reducing mosquito numbers by up to 90% last year. Early reports show that mosquito-borne diseases were eliminated in the last two months of the trial.

As reported to World Health Organization (WHO), the cases of dengue have increased eight folds in the last two decades. In Cuba, dengue is a mounting crisis. This mosquito-borne disease causes viral infections such as high fever, skin rashes, body pain, and in most severe cases, death.

In SIT, male mosquitoes are captured and sterilized with gamma rays and X-rays. These male mosquitoes are then released back where they sexually compete, failing to produce offspring.

This nuclear technique is relatively new and shows a lot of promise. National Institutions can now effectively implement the SIT and soon such study will be performed in other countries.

Source: World Nuclear News

Published by Amit K Shah

Nuclear Engineer. Junior Research Fellow at National Institute of Advanced Studies.

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