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Monday, January 26, 2015

Mosquitoes - being from Maine this subject is a big deal

:....but some residents are frightened..." Florida MySuncoast WWSB Channel 7.

An article titled "The Mosquito Solution", by Michael Specter, published in the July 9, 2012 edition of The New Yorker naturally raised my awareness. Ferocious Maine bred mosquitoes have a reputation for being big and ruthless. Thank goodness for our outdoor "mosquito magnet", because, otherwise, we simply couldn't enjoy the state's slogan, "the way life should be", unless we showered daily in summer bug repellent. 

Here's a succinct "twitter" type synopsis of Specter's article: European scientists reduced the incidence of mosquito born sicknesses in developing countries with genetically modified insects, but many affluent Floridians are fearful of the frankenbugs.

Now, Florida is reporting how the state's beautiful Keys proposes to implement the science described by The Mosquito Solution

What's blog worthy about this story and the proposed implementation of the technology to kill mosquitoes are how the story is reported as not, necessarily, a good thing to do. 

Ba-humbug! News reports about mosquito killing technology are setting people up to be more fearful of being bitten by genetically modified mosquitoes than they are of becoming infected with dengue fever! 

Here's how it works. Scientists figured out a way (described in The New Yorker) to genetically modify particular species of mosquitoes so they're unable to reproduce.  Tadaaaaa! 

Communities in developing countries, like Brazil, for example, embraced this experimental technology with positive outcomes. Yet, affluent Floridians say "not so fast". Weirdly inverse correlation.

Florida's ABC affiliate MySuncoast WWSB Channel 7 reports:
Associated Press
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — 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.


The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration will allow them to run an experiment in Key West to see if the modified bugs can suppress the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread dengue and chikungunya.

Mosquito controllers say they're running out of options because most approved insecticides are no longer effective against Aedes aegypti.

The British company Oxitec has built a breeding lab in Marathon and hopes to release its mosquitoes this spring, if approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But some residents are frightened at the thought of being bitten by genetically modified organisms.

Hey! Listen up readers! Side effects of anti-mosquito chemicals are likely more toxic than the venom from genetically modified mosquitoes. 

I can't, for the life of me, understand why anybody would want to protect chemical death for mosquitoes, rather than support their genetically modified extinction. "There has never been a more effective killing machine," reported Specter.

If Florida's Keys can eliminate the risk of mosquito born illnesses carried by the Aedes aegypti, which is endemic to the region, then I predict tourism will become even more of an attraction. Obviously, property values....well....could become the most expensive place on earth to live.  

Nevertheless, the next scientific achievement for the Florida Keys would need to figure out a way to prevent hurricanes. But, first, let's get those affluent Floridians to accept one scientific advancement at a time.  

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