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Friday, December 7, 2012

"Pandora's Box?" - Hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes set to be released into the Florida Keys in experiment to fight dengue fever.



"Pandora's Box?" - Hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes set to be released into the Florida Keys in experiment to fight dengue fever.(DM).Hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes are awaiting federal approval for release into the Florida Keys as part of an experiment aimed at reducing the risk of dengue fever. Mosquito control officials have requested the Food and Drug Administration’s sign off on the experiment that would be the first of its kind in the U.S. Some residents of the tourist town of Key West worry though on how much research has been done to determine the risks of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes on the Keys’ fragile ecosystem. Officials are targeting the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes because they can spread dengue fever, a disease health officials thought had been eradicated in the U.S. until 93 cases originated in the Keys in 2009 and 2010.
Dengue fever is a viral disease that inflicts severe flu-like symptoms — the joint pain is so severe its nickname is 'breakbone fever.' It isn't fatal but victims are then susceptible at subsequent exposures to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be. 
'It's very uncomfortable. You ache all over, you have a terrible fever,' said Joel Biddle, a Key West resident whose dengue fever symptoms lasted more than a week in 2009. Biddle is among those concerned about the Key West trial. He worries the modified genetic material will somehow be passed to humans or the ecosystem, and he wants more research done. He and other Key West residents also chafe at the fact that the project was in the works long before it was made public late last year. Read the full story here.

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