Cuba uses drones to apply sterile insect technique

Cuba uses drones to apply sterile insect technique
Fecha de publicación: 
10 April 2024
Imagen principal: 

Cuba has released, for the second time in Havana, and this time using a drone, male specimens of the Aedes aegypti mosquitos that were sterilized with ionizing radiation, Granma newspaper reported.

In Cuba, the sterile insect technique for the control of this vector, which transmits dengue fever, Zika and other diseases, consists of the massive release of sterile males into their natural environment, which, by copulating with wild females, reduce their reproductive capacity.

As the birth rate decreases, the numerical size of the populations of the harmful mosquitos also depletes over time.

Marta Contreras, coordinator of the Cuban Network of Nuclear Communicators, told the newspaper that this is an experiment conducted by the Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute to contrast the effects of releasing the insects by air or ground, in terms of survival, dispersion and competitiveness.

According to scientists, male mosquitoes do not bite or spread diseases and, even when irradiated, they maintain the condition of being sexually competitive.

The first application in Cuba of this procedure was conducted in 2019 in a community in the municipality of La Lisa in Havana.

In eight subsequent months, there were weekly releases of sterile male mosquitos, all from the ground, with high effectiveness, eliminating nearly the entire population of Aedes aegypti mosquitos in that area.

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