To meet today's public health challenges head-on OCMVCD needs to advance the science around tools and approaches to better protect public health in Orange County. A new tool added to the Integrated Vector Management Program is called the Irradiation Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). This additional technique is a promising new tool that could help combat the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
What is irradiation?
Irradiation uses X-rays and gamma rays to sterilize mass-reared insects so that, while they remain competitive, they cannot produce offspring. SIT does not involve transgenic (genetic engineering) processes.
What is the process?
Large numbers of mosquitoes are raised in a lab. Male mosquito pupae are separated from female pupae. Males are irradiated, using ionizing radiation, to make them sterile. Male mosquitoes are bred and sterilized using the same radiation found in X-rays. Males are then regularly released to mate with wild females. The resulting eggs will not hatch.
Is it harmful to humans or other animals?
The EPA evaluated the potential risk of releasing irradiated mosquitoes into communities and determined that there is no risk to people, animals, or the environment.
For more information: EPA’s Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment
Will this method help decrease disease outbreaks?
Releasing males that are irradiated is not intended to stop an outbreak. However, releasing these types of mosquitoes over several months can reduce the number of specific mosquito species, such as the invasive Aedes mosquito which can transmit diseases.
What can I do as a resident to help OCMVCD help combat this invasive species?
Mosquito control is a shared responsibility. Everyone must take charge of their yard and eliminate standing water and unneeded containers weekly. Residents can sign up to become a mosquito advocate in their neighborhood to educate their community: https://www.ocvector.org/become-a-neighborhood-advocate