Florida Keys Stalls Test of Anti-Zika Mosquitoes

Florida Keys residents have stalled the testing of genetically engineered mosquitoes, despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving a trial release of the insect in the archipelago. British company Oxitec developed the male mosquito that produce offspring that are said to fail to reach maturity, making them an effective means of reducing local mosquito populations—especially in areas that have seen mosquito-borne outbreaks of viruses such as Zika. While the Keys’ mosquito control board has allowed the company to breed its mosquitoes on one island, they will not allow a trial release, instead putting it on a November ballot referendum. Oxitec will reportedly request approval to release the insect elsewhere, possibly Miami, where there are at least 30 cases of locally acquired Zika; or Puerto Rico, where the president declared a Zika “public-health emergency” last week.