Aside from being a food source to many creatures, mosquitoes are one of those insects that seem to serve no positive purpose for mankind. Sometimes theorized to be part of the curse put on Creation after Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden, the flying blood-suckers are widely considered the most deadly animal in the world and kill hundreds of millions of people every year with the diseases they spread, according to the World Health Organization.
That’s why it might seem strange that one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. is releasing over half a billion of the tiny creatures into its populace.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, though, Miami, Florida isn’t trying to rid itself of its human population. In fact, they’re releasing the mosquitoes in order to help them.
All the mosquitoes being introduced by the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division have two characteristics that make all the difference. One, they’re male and don’t bite. Two, they’ve been infected with a special bacteria that, when spread to female mosquitoes during mating, will cause baby mosquitoes to not live long enough to become adults.
This new war on the blood-suckers is especially important in a region of the country where the Zika virus, along with other tropical diseases, gained a dangerous foothold a couple years ago. Florida appears to be free of Zika at this time, according to Zika Free Florida, but officials are afraid it could return.
The Zika virus can cause rashes and flu-like symptoms, but it’s also been linked to severe birth defects in newborns. There were over 5,000 cases of Zika reported in the U.S. in 2016 but only one so far this year, according to the CDC. Mosquito bites are the primary means of transmission.
The EPA has approved the continued release of the bacteria-infected mosquitoes in the Miami area for the next six months.
South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, who is also a zoology professor, said Zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya “are still a concern. They’re still in the Caribbean and could move to the mainland to cause problems.”
Watch Inside Edition’s brief report on the Miami mosquito release below:
What do you think of this? In other news, Donald Trump Jr. is speaking out about what happened when his wife opened an envelope full of white powder.