One Health Resource Center

One Health Resource Center

Perspective from Marm Kilpatrick, PhD
November 10, 2017
1 min read

EPA approves use of bacterium for mosquito control

Perspective from Marm Kilpatrick, PhD
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Image of Aedes albopictus mosquito
The EPA has approved the use of modified mosquitoes to control local populations.
Source: James Gathany/CDC.

The EPA has approved the use of a common bacterium to kill mosquitos capable of spreading diseases to humans.

The agency said this week that it would allow male Aedes albopictus mosquitoes carrying a strain of the Wolbachia bacterium to be sold for 5 years in 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Although another species, A. aegypti, has been the main vector in the recent Zika virus epidemic, A. albopictus is thought to be a competent spreader of the virus and is known to transmit dengue and chikungunya.

The mosquitoes approved for use by the EPA, ZAP Males (MosquitoMate), are infected with W. pipientis, which they pass on to females during mating. The females then produce offspring that do not survive.

Wolbachia are naturally occurring bacteria that can be found in 60% of insects. Following a risk assessment, the EPA determined that releasing the modified mosquitoes in the wild would have no adverse impact on any other organism. – by Gerard Gallagher


EPA. EPA registers the Wolbachia ZAP strain in live male Asian tiger mosquitoes. Accessed November 10, 2017.