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Ecuador to release sterile mosquitoes in Galapagos
Ecuador will release 100,000 sterile Aedes aegypti mosquitoes on its Galapagos Islands to curb dengue, Zika and chikungunya transmission, authorities said Friday.
The first such effort with sterile mosquitoes there, it should help lower local residents' and tourists' rates of infection from those diseases, the National Institute for Health Research (Inspi) said.
The plan should "improve health conditions of the population, avoiding the transmission of diseases to tourists... and reducing the use of chemical products used in fumigation," an Inspi statement said.
The Galapagos, a World Heritage Site whose fragile ecosystem is home to unique flora and fauna species, were made famous by British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin's observations on evolution there.
The islands are close to 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the mainland coast.
Inspi researchers have worked for six years on the project that includes the mass rearing of Aedes aegypti in the laboratory and their sterilization by radiation.
The release of mosquitoes unable to fertilize the females impacts the population of the species, reducing it and thus the transmission of diseases.
© 2023 AFP