By Horacio SoriaJuan Bustamante
BUENOS AIRES, April 17 (Reuters) –Argentinawho faces one of his worst dengue outbreaks years, sterilizes mosquitoes using atomic radiation which modifies their DNA before releasing them into the wild.
The South American country recorded more than 40,000 cases of the mosquito-borne disease so far this year, well above the level of major outbreaks in 2020 and 2016, according to the latest government data.
“This mosquito, because of the rising temperatures generals in our country and in the world (…) what he does is to be able to disperse more, then his population limits they are going more and more south,” biologist Marianela García Alba, technical manager of the project at the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA), told Reuters Television.
To fight back, CNEA biologists have been experimenting with atomic sterilization since 2016. They sterilize 10,000 males a week and aim to increase that number to 500,000. They hope to release the first batch of sterilized males in November.
“They are sterilized using ionizing energies and these sterile males are released into the field and when they encounter a wild female, the offspring produced are not viable,” explained García Alba.
“Thus, by successive releases of these males, we managed to reduce the population of our mosquito vector,” he added.
He dengue fever It is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Its symptoms include fever, eyes, headache, muscle and joint pain, as well as nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
(Written by Adam Jourdan. Translated and edited by Walter Bianchi and Lucila Sigal)
With information from Reuters