UK collaboration to test biological control of mosquitoes

The new biological control method is based on releasing Wolbachia-infected males in a targeted area. Unlike their female counterparts, male mosquitoes do not bite or transmit disease. The males mate with females and render the females sterile.Dobson began testing the biological controls effectiveness in small laboratory cages and progressed to greenhouses, releasing more infected male mosquitoes each time.\”In laboratory and greenhouse conditions, we can eliminate a population in just over eight weeks,\” Dobson said.The technology is being field tested through a collaboration between UK and MosquitoMate, a small, start-up company in Lexington. MosquitoMate is led by Jimmy Mains, a former student in Dobsons laboratory whose doctoral research focused on Wolbachias ability to control Asian tiger mosquitoes in laboratory and greenhouse settings.\”Its exciting to participate as this technology progresses from an idea developed at the University of Kentucky, through laboratory trials and now to a real-world application,\” Mains said.Mosquito populations peaked before the researchers received the EPA permit this summer. Therefore their initial work this past summer in Lexington was limited to small-scale trials, examining male mating and flight distance in the field. This information will help guide early work next year, when researchers hope to see significant impacts on Asian tiger mosquito populations in Lexington.

via UK collaboration to test biological control of mosquitoes.

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Secrets of insect repellent DEET being uncovered.

“Until now, no one had a clue about which olfactory receptor insects used to avoid DEET. Without the receptors, it is impossible to apply modern technology to design new repellents,” said Professor Anandasankar Ray, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, who led the study.

“Ir40a and its related proteins are conserved not only in flies and mosquitoes, but also in many other insects that are human and plant pests. Our findings could lead to a new generation of cheap, affordable repellents that could protect humans, animals and, in the future, our crops as well,” Professor Ray said.

“We could find truly novel repellents that have remarkable properties such as large-scale spatial protection and long-term protection.”

via Secrets of insect repellent DEET could prove decisive in the war on malaria, dengue and West Nile fever – Science – News – The Independent.


Scientific American on malaria-mosquito control: no simple answer, every site needs its own selection of tools

But a decade of blanketing Africa with pyrethroids has fueled resistance to this front-line chemical weapon. Now pyrethroid-immune mosquitoes are spreading quickly throughout the continent.“At some level, to really control the mosquitoes,” Artress says, “they’re going to have to do more.”What that “more” is, however, is uncertain. Because of a lack of research, no new chemicals for killing malaria-infected mosquitoes have emerged in more than 40 years.

via Malaria Mosquitoes Gain Ground as Search for New Defenses Intensifies: Scientific American.


Kite Mosquito Patch developer tries to raise funds for their first field test in Uganda

Initial funding for the technology came to Ray’s lab from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.  Olfactor Laboratories Inc. has funding from the National Institute of Health, agreements with the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to test a range of technologies developed at the company relating to mosquito and other vector insects.  The Kite Mosquito Patch is one of a number of new products with the ‘Kite’ product family, all of which use non-toxic compounds to repel, kill or lure vector insects.

“Kite will provide a new level of protection to, for example, children in Uganda, for the elderly in Mali, and hikers in Seattle or Sarasota seeking a safer, socially responsible solution,” said Grey Frandsen, project lead and chief marketing officer at Innovation Economy Crowd (ieCrowd), a crowd-powered platform aimed at transforming innovations into solutions. Olfactor Laboratories Inc. is an ieCrowd company.

The first Kite Mosquito Patches will be tested in districts of Uganda hardest hit by malaria. In 2010 an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 660,000 people died, 91 percent in the African Region.

via UCR Today: Research Leads to Affordable Technology to Fight Mosquito-borne Diseases.


Aerial mosquito spraying study finds no immediate public health risks

In what researchers say is the first public health study of the aerial mosquito spraying method to prevent West Nile virus, a UC Davis study analyzed emergency department records from Sacramento area hospitals during and immediately after aerial sprayings in the summer of 2005. Physicians and scientists from the university and from the California Department of Public Health found no increase in specific diagnoses that are considered most likely to be associated with pesticide exposure, including respiratory, gastrointestinal, skin, eye and neurological conditions.

via Aerial mosquito spraying study finds no immediate public health risks.


Josephine d’Allant: How Slum Residents Fight Against Malaria, TB, Dengue Fever and Swine Flu

Although malaria remains a perennial issue in Mumbai, city officials launched a targeted intervention in 2009 that has become a model for other Indian cities. The approach is multi-pronged, focusing on slums and construction sites, door-to-door screening, regular fogging, and the proper treatment of malaria patients. Data prove that this initiative is working: malaria-related deaths have dropped from 198 to 45 in just three years. The government is now planning to use this model to combat other mosquito-borne illnesses in Mumbai.

via Josephine d’Allant: How Slum Residents Fight Against Malaria, TB, Dengue Fever and Swine Flu.


Weather may influence transmission of West Nile, chikungunya, and other viral disease

According to Virginia Tech scientists, mosquitoes reared in cooler temperatures have weaker immune systems, making them more susceptible to dangerous viruses and more likely to transmit them to people.

The connection between temperature and the mosquito’s immune system, published Friday (May 31, 2013) in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, is significant in light of global climate change, said researchers Kevin Myles and Zach Adelman, associate professors of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and affiliates of the Fralin Life Science Institute.

“Our data offers a plausible hypothesis for how changes in weather influence the transmission of these diseases and will likely continue to do so in the future,” Myles said.

A variety of weather anomalies may occur with global changes in climate. However, predicting what these weather anomalies will be is difficult due to the enormous complexity involved.

via Weather may influence transmission of West Nile, chikungunya, and other viral disease.