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Miami-Dade County Wolbachia-infected mosquito control program study demonstrates extremely positive results

Rolled out in South Miami during January to June of 2018 with MosquitoMate, efforts proved to be effective and natural population control of the Aedes aegypti mosquito

MIAMI ( May 31, 2019 )

The results are in: the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control Division collaborative Wolbachia mosquito control initiative, conducted along with the City of South Miami and the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate, was a demonstrative success. Initially touted as a "mosquito subtraction by addition" program, an extensive look into the data collected from treatment and control areas through the six-plus months of the release, marking and trapping of millions of non-biting male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, showed a 75 percent reduction in the overall population of the flying pests, all due to the resultant egg hatch failure.

Found in about 40 percent of all insect species, Wolbachia is a bacterium that causes the reproductive cycle in mosquitoes to be thrown awry. The biological mosquito control technology has been tested in the Florida Keys and in Clovis, California, and is currently being evaluated near St. Augustine, Florida, and in Harris County, Texas. Simply put, it has been proven to reduce the population of the Ae. aeqypti mosquito and offers the possibility of an environmentally friendly alternative vector control strategy for Miami-Dade County.

"The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control have encouraged the development of alternative methods to combat mosquito-borne diseases," says Miami-Dade Mosquito Control Division Director Dr. Bill Petrie. "This field study shows that such innovative techniques can produce positive results in a practical setting."

Concerns about this invasive and elusive species of mosquito heightened during the 2016 outbreak of the Zika virus. At the crisis' peak, Miami-Dade had four zones of active and local transmission: South Beach, North Beach, Wynwood and Little River. The County broke the cycle of local transmission through aggressive surveillance, habitat reduction, larviciding, adulticiding and public education.

One of the takeaways from the County's response to Zika and their partnership with state and federal agencies was to explore alternatives to traditional mosquito control methods. This directly led to the Wolbachia initiative. To read the scientific study in the Journal of Medical Entomology, click bit.ly/MDCWolbachia

Residents can report mosquito nuisance issues by calling 311, visiting miamidade.gov/311direct or by using the Miami-Dade County Solid Waste Management mobile app for iPhone.

For more information about Miami-Dade County’s Mosquito Control program, please visit miamidade.gov/mosquito.

Like the Mosquito Control Division Facebook page here: www.Facebook.com/305Mosquito; follow @305Mosquito on Twitter and Instagram.