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Brazil uses drones, 'nuclear' mosquitoes against Zika

Staff writer |
Several cities in Brazil are using drones to detect and destroy the breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses.

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Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, is flying drones over shuttered residences to check for signs of the mosquito in gardens, terraces and other places where they might breed.

Since the Zika virus has been suspected of causing birth defects, the federal government intensified its campaign to contain the disease by inspecting and fumigating residence and business buildings.

The federal government is well on its way to meeting its goal of inspecting some 60 million residences across the country.

Teams of troops and civil servants have already covered 40 percent of sites, or about 27.5 million homes, businesses and public buildings, the government said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has joined the fight against Aedes aegypti—the notorious mosquito responsible for spreading dengue, chikungunya and now the Zika virus.

Experts from around the globe have been working strenuously in the IAEA’s tightly secured research facility in Seibersdorf, 30 kilometers south of the Austrian capital, to perfect something called the sterile insect technique, or SIT.

Male mosquitoes have their private parts zapped with a radioactive source before being released into nature to mate with wild females, which, as a result, will lay infertile eggs. The aim is to gradually reduce, if not suppress, their population.

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