CNN

Mosquitoes have been almost completely wiped out on two Chinese islands

Jul 18, 2019, 5:35 AM
west nile salt lake...
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(CNN) — A population of the world’s most invasive mosquito species was almost completely wiped out by an experiment on two islands in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, according to a study published Wednesday.

The experiment successfully reduced the female Asian Tiger Mosquito population — the main source of bites and disease transmission — by up to 94%, reducing the number of reported human bites by 97%.

It isn’t the first attempt by researchers to reduce mosquito populations across the world. In 2018, scientists from the Imperial College of London used gene-editing tools to render female mosquitoes sterile, while males developed normally and continued spreading the genetic mutation.

One of the Chinese study’s researchers, Xi Zhiyong, a professor at Michigan State University, has been a longtime pioneer in this field of study. Running a mosquito factory in southern China, he previously attempted to use sterilized male mosquitoes to mate with unaltered females.

“We’re building good mosquitoes that can help us fight the bad ones”, Xi told CNN in 2016.

In the new study, published by the International Journal of Science, Xi and his colleagues attempted to cut mosquito numbers even further by limiting both male and females’ ability to reproduce.

Female mosquitoes were sterilized with low level radiation while the males were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, then both were released during the peak breeding seasons in 2016 and 2017 on two islands near Guangzhou city.

The results were so successful they nearly eradicated the entire female mosquito population on the two islands.

In a statement, mosquito ecologist Peter Armbruster said the trial was one of the most successful mosquito reduction trials to date given mosquitoes’ stubborn survivability.

Experts said the Asian tiger mosquitoes are particularly hard to eradicate using conventional population control methods, such as pesticides and removing stagnant water where the insects lay their eggs.

The white-striped mosquitoes have been described as “highly invasive” and have spread from Asia to almost every continent over the past 40 years, according to the study’s authors.

Mosquitoes pose grave threats to human health beyond just irritating bites. The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the insects as “one of the deadliest animals in the world,” due to their ability to rapidly spread deadly diseases such as dengue fever and malaria.

Guangzhou, a densely populated urban metropolis with a tropical climate, saw around 37,350 people infected with dengue fever during an outbreak in 2014.

This month, Philippines health authorities declared a “national dengue alert” after more than 450 people were killed by the virus in just the first half of 2019.

There is currently no effective vaccine or treatment for most mosquio-transmitted diseases, leaving controlling the insects’ populations one of the most effective control methods, according to the International Journal of Science.

“A new tool like what’s being described in this paper is very much needed,” Dobson said.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recover debris from a high-altitude surveil...
Katie Bo Lillis, Jeremy Herb, Josh Campbell, Zachary Cohen, Kylie Atwood and Natasha Bertrand, CNN

US intel source: balloon part of broader Chinese military surveillance

The Chinese spy balloon, that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina over the weekend, was part of a Chinese military surveillance program, according to American officials.
1 day ago
A selfie taken by Gabby Petito weeks before her death shows she had facial injuries on the day she ...
Andi Babineau and Paradise Afshar, CNN

New photo of Gabby Petito raises questions

Facial injuries are shown on the face of Gabby Petito in a selfie she took weeks before her death.
1 day ago
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, pictured here in Orlando in November of 2022, will deliver th...
Clare Foran, CNN

Sarah Huckabee Sanders draws generational contrast with Biden in GOP rebuttal

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave a combative speech Tuesday evening in response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.
1 day ago
A majority of Americans say he hasn't accomplished much and many Democrats aren't thrilled at the p...
Kevin Liptak, CNN

Takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address

A recap of President Biden's second State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
2 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting, Friday, Feb. 3, 202...
Phil Mattingly and Kevin Liptak, CNN

Biden to test run reelection message in address to divided Congress

Biden hopes to present a vigorous and optimistic portrait to the American people of his first two years in office.
2 days ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Hilton ...
Zachary Cohen, CNN

Exclusive: US intel documents Chinese balloon incident under Trump

The April 2022 report, titled "People's Republic of China High-Altitude Balloon," found a Chinese spy balloon "circumnavigated the globe" in 2019.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

This article about skijoring is sponsored by the Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. Participate in Skijoring the Bear on February 20th, 2023.  What is skijoring? Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and […]
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Mosquitoes have been almost completely wiped out on two Chinese islands