Zika Hits Florida—Avoid Travel to Affected Areas Warns CDC

If only there were a technology that could reduce the numbers of these deadly mosquitoes


Aedes aegypti/University of Florida

The Florida Department of Health has now identified 14 locally transmitted cases of Zika virus infection in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. The Centers for Disease Control has issued an advisory urging pregnant women and women who plan to become pregnant soon to avoid traveling to this part of South Florida. The CDC is also urging that pregnant women and their partners who live in or have traveled to this area use condoms to prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, the agency is suggests that all pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.

According to STAT, CDC Director Tom Frieden said that this is the first time the CDC had issued a health-related travel advisory for the mainland United States. STAT further reported that Frieden also observed that …

…despite aggressive efforts by Florida to lower populations of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the main species that spreads Zika — the state has seen no reduction in the numbers caught in the traps it sets. That suggests the efforts aren't working.

Frieden offered several explanations, including the possibility that the mosquitoes may have developed resistance to the chemicals being used to control them. Testing to see if that is the case will take at least a week and perhaps three or more.

If only there were a technology that could reduce the numbers of these deadly mosquitoes. Wait a minute—there is!

"Friendly" GMO mosquitoes could spread a gene that is lethal to the larva of the disease-carrying mosquitoes. In Brazil, the release of these genetically-modified mosquitoes reduced the transmission of dengue fever by more than 90 percent. Last week, the Cayman Islands government approved the release of the GMO mosquitoes to control Zika virus there. Unfortunately, this technology is not approved for use in the United States because FDA regulators are kowtowing to the fearmongering of anti-biotech activists.