Scientists Listen to Public Opinion on GMO Mosquitoes

There’s certainly mixed opinions when it comes to the release of genetically modified mosquitoes out into nature. Scientists have released these ‘special’ pests into certain areas in order to help fight mosquito borne disease, however they have come up against objections and want to find out what the public actually think. Here’s an article with more information.

Scientists Read Thousands Of Comments To Understand Public Opinion On GMO Mosquitoes

When Monroe County held a nonbinding referendum last year on whether to allow the experimental release of genetically modified mosquitoes, most voters said yes. This was as the mosquito-borne Zika crisis was exploding. The Food and Drug Administration had already started to clear the way for the field trial. But residents of Key Haven–the proposed site of the mosquito control experiment–voted against it. And the company that breeds the mosquitoes started looking for another site.

The article refers to working with communities, and many of us, as responsible home owners can get involved in ensuring our own mosquito control is up to date. Just our own tiny contribution can have a big impact on the mosquito population and the spread of disease.

It’s understandable though that there are concerns when it comes to GMO mosquitoes, and just why the public are resisting. For many, they don’t understand the concept.

A good explanation in the above video, should hopefully shed some light.

Study Finds Public Pushing Back On Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

In recent years, scientists have been using new genetic tools to modify mosquitoes in their labs. Their goal — shared by a team of biologists at UC San Diego currently engaged in this research — is to develop new ways of fighting the spread of insect-borne diseases like Zika, malaria and dengue. But a new study led by a UC San Diego researcher finds that some Americans are strongly opposed to releasing genetically modified insects in the wild, presenting challenges to plans for testing this approach in the U.S.

It seems a large part of the issue is down to communication and engagement. The public want to know what creatures are being released into the environment and the implications involved. That’s fair enough and it’s good that scientists are listening to the voices of the many.


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Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites

Prevention is cure as they say! When it comes to mosquitoes, being able to avoid a bite altogether is the best way to protect yourself from the diseases they spread and that irritating itch they leave you with, once they’ve injected their germs into you. However, here’s an article with some home remedies that can help you cure that itch and stop you from scratching.

9 home remedies for mosquito bite itch

The best method of dealing with mosquitos is to keep them from biting you in the first place by applying insect repellent before heading outdoors. But that’s not always possible, and it’s not always 100 percent effective. The second line of defense is having a reliable remedy to stop the itch before you scratch the bites into oblivion.

Speaking of being around the home, it’s also worth making sure your mosquito control is up to date and your back yard is as safe as it can be from these critters.

A bite from one of these tiny creatures can pack a real punch, and the thing is, you don’t know they’ve got you until it’s too late!

Expert: The most important thing you can do to protect against mosquito bites

Henrico urges residents to “pick one day each week to fight the bite.” Culex mosquitoes, the species that can carry West Nile, laying their eggs in stagnant water that has been sitting for at least one week. Official say residents should take one day each week to walk around their yard and tip over sitting water in things like corrugated drain pipes, bird baths, or children’s toys.

Make sure you clear your outside areas for any potential mosquito breeding grounds, wear repellent and avoid those dawn and dusk hours when they are most active.

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Test Ticks For Lyme Disease

When it comes to Lyme disease, it’s important that detecting whether you have been infected is discovered as soon as possible. That’s why if you discover a tick on your body, it’s worth having one of these tests available to establish whether the critter in question is a carrier. Here’s an article with more information.

Worried about a tick bite? ESU develops Lyme disease test to ease concerns

East Stroudsburg University and EPA Enterprises, Inc. introduced a solution that will help make the detection of Lyme disease easier — and faster — for people and their pets. The Cutter Lyme Disease Tick Test will provide individuals who find a tick on themselves or their animals with a DNA test that is proven to be 99.9 percent accurate in determining if it is a carrier of Lyme disease.

The kit includes a ‘tick remover’ but do you know how to remove a tick safely and why it is important to do so?

If you’ve been bitten by a tick then you want to keep a close eye on the area that you have been bitten and be aware of any symptoms that could be a cause of concern.

Lyme Disease: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

One of the first signs of an infected tick bite is a rash, which looks like a bull’s eye on a dart board. Other early symptoms include aching joints and muscles, plus a stiff neck and fever. Symptoms are thought to begin showing at around 30 days after a person has been bitten. If the condition is left untreated, symptoms can progress to numbness of the limbs and temporary paralysis of your facial muscles.

Remember… ticks don’t just transmit Lyme disease there are other harmless tick borne illnesses that they can pass on to us too. So be aware! When you venture outside, check your body thoroughly, take action if you find a tick about your person and seek medical advice with any concerns.

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Weapons of Mosquito Distruction

Scientists have been working on a a laser that can identify mosquitoes and ‘zap’ them out of existence.  This new invention was created by Nathan Myhrvold, who has been looking at ways of combating the spread of Malaria. Here’s an article with more information on this story.

Where’s Our Laser-Shooting Mosquito Death Machine?

It’s hard to think of an upside to mosquitoes. Malaria is perhaps one of the most deadly diseases in human history. Then there’s yellow fever, dengue, and West Nile, not to mention Zika, a tropical-zone also-ran, until it began to be associated with horrific birth defects. Scientists suspect that, on balance, mosquitoes don’t contribute much of anything to the ecosystem, other than fending off humans from despoiling rain forests. They aren’t even particularly important to the diet of most of the predators that eat them. And so, as we reach new heights of mosquito fear, we’ve devised ever-more-advanced ways to kill them.

It’s a little bit of an intimidating thought, but if it can help to get rid of these disease spreading pests…

Mosquitoes are the biggest killer in the world. They transmit so many diseases that are a threat to those that cannot seek immunization. Too many people are becoming victims to these tiny pests and action needs to be taken. So what can you do, in and around your own home? You can invest in mosquito control and make sure there are no areas that these pests can breed.

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You Don’t Need to be Bitten by a Tick to be Infected

Investigation into the death of a Japanese woman whose cause of death was from a tick borne virus, has revealed that she wasn’t actually ever bitten by a tick! It was actually through the bite of a stray cat. Here’s an article with more on the story.

This Is How a Woman Died from a Tick-Borne Disease Without a Tick Bite

A woman in Japan died last year from a tick-borne disease — but she was never bitten by a tick.Instead, investigators believe the woman became infected with a disease called severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome through a bite from a stray cat, according to The Japan Times.

No cases have currently been reported in the United States,  but it’s worth being mindful that this CAN happen! Any animal, particularly a stray one, that my have come into contact with a tick and that could potentially bite you is a threat. And that’s not just from tick borne diseases, there are others that can be transmitted too.

Do feral cats spread disease?

It’s no secret that Americans love cats; there are more than 74 million felines kept as pets in the United States, with another 60 to 150 million million feral or free-roaming cats trying to make it on their own [source: Weise]. While many pet cats are spayed or neutered and up-to-date on life-saving vaccinations, feral cats are unlikely to receive this type of preventative care, allowing them to breed without restriction and to spread scary diseases, including rabies

So what can you do to protect yourself and your domestic pets from ticks. After all, they are at risk from a tick bite too.

Remember that these tiny bugs can kill. They are a very real threat, whether you come into contact with an infected tick directly or disease is spread from another animal. Be aware, be alert, be responsible.

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Mosquitoes to live on their own Island

Imagine how huge a task it would be to separate male and female mosquitoes from one another? That’s what one laboratory in Tahiti has been working on to enable them to almost eradicate mosquitoes from a tiny nearby island. Here’s an article with more information as to why they are taking on such a challenge.

Bacteria could be key to freeing South Pacific of mosquitoes

The South Pacific islands have long drawn sailors and tourists seeking paradise on Earth, but biologists are now trying to make the region even more alluring. A biomedical lab in Tahiti has succeeded in nearly eradicating mosquitoes from a tiny nearby island, and researchers are gearing up to eliminate the pests from a larger island that is permanently inhabited by people.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get rid of mosquitoes from places of human habitation? They can happily ‘buzz’ away on an island where they are free to enjoy their tiny lives and remain in their important role in the ecosystem.

However, we are a long way from becoming ‘mosquito free’ so of course, we need to keep up with our mosquito protection in our homes and when we venture outside.

There is also a further species of mosquito that has been discovered on the island of Guam which is native to Jamaica and South Florida.

Exotic mosquito species found on island not a threat to humans

An exotic species of mosquito was recently identified on Guam, but it’s not a threat to humans, according to the Department of Public Health and Social Services. The newly recorded species, identified as Wyeomyia mitchellii, is native to Jamaica and South Florida. It is not known to carry any diseases harmful to humans, according to the Mosquito Surveillance and Control Program, an arm of public health’s Division of Environmental Health.

To conclude, as much as we would like to get rid of these disease spreading pests in their entirety, they are an important part of the ecosystem. However, if they would be quite happy to live on their own and no longer bother us, we could perhaps get used to that!

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Mosquitoes: Reducing these Pests from Breeding is a Blessing.

With increased rainfall in many areas of the United States that has resulted in flooding, comes with it the threat of an increased mosquito population. Of course with that, brings a health alert to mosquito borne illness.

Recent floods cause increase in mosquitoes

With the recent storms comes flooding, that flooding becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The conditions where we’re most likely to see the bugs and how we can best protect ourselves from bites.

Even if where you live has been lucky enough to avoid the frequent rainfall, you still need to make sure you are well protected from these critters.

Lee County in Florida has increasing concerns. Last year you may recall the Zika virus raised it’s ugly head in the southern State, so when the buzzing population is on the rise there are worried faces a plenty.

Zika cases continue to increase in Florida

Florida has reported six additional cases of the Zika virus during the past week, bringing the total to 113 in 2017, according to numbers posted Monday on the state Department of Health website.

Wherever you are, it’s wise to make sure you have adequate mosquito control and are taking all measures to protect yourself. Whatever we can do to contribute to reducing the opportunities for these pests to breed is a blessing.

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