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During the 2016 year, reducing Zika infection rates was a top priority among scientists and researchers. During the early stages of the Zika outbreak, many researchers had developed promising methods of reducing Zika transmission rates. Some of these methods were put to use in time to battle the disease before the summer of 2017. Now it is fall of 2017, and one Zika control method has proven to be effective. The method relied on Zika mating rates. Last year the researchers who had developed the Zika control method were nervous because they knew that their plan would not work if the aedes aegypti mosquito failed to mate at a certain rate. Luckily, the mosquitoes were properly libidinous, and the plan was a success, as it drastically reduced the number of Zika infected mosquitoes in the California region where the method was put to the test.

Last year a Kentucky-based biotechnology company named Mosquito Mate, and a mosquito control project developed by a sister company of Google named Debug Fresno joined forces in order to reduce mosquito populations by introducing sterile male mosquitoes into the environment. The plan involved raising sterile males in order to introduce them to female mosquitoes already in the environment. Eventually, the lack of offspring should have resulted in a population decrease among mosquitoes. A fewer number of mosquitoes means less bites to humans from Zika infected mosquitoes. This plan worked out well, as the population of biting female mosquitoes in Fresno decreased by a staggering sixty eight percent by the peak of the 2017 summer season. A smaller scale test of this method was proven a success in 2016, but researchers knew a larger scale study could yield different results due to many factors. Luckily, this large scale Zika control effort worked and it can be used to slow the spread of other mosquito-borne diseases.

Do you think the public will start hearing about more and more successful Zika control efforts? Do you think the success of Zika control efforts is partly responsible for the decrease in Zika transmission rates during the 2017 summer season?

 

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