Dengue fever: the first release of sterile mosquitoes by a drone on Reunion Island

Pilot tests to release sterile male mosquitoes, on the ground and then by drones, began in St. Joseph, with the aim of reducing or even locally eliminating populations of a mosquito vector of dengue.

The first version was powered by a drone

these Releasing sterile mosquitoes, Is part of European projects, which aim to improve harmful insect control using Sterile insect technique (TIS) is called “reinforced.”

This is the first time that TIS has been enhanced and drones have been used to release field-tested sterile male mosquitoes in urban areas.

These pilot tests aim at the historical vector of Dengue fever And you Chikungunya to me the meeting Aedes aegypti.

Two study sites on the coast of Saint Joseph’s municipality were targeted because the population of Aedes aegypti is isolated there, which gives hope to eradicate it locally.Jeremy Boyer, CIRAD Entomologist and Project Coordinator of Revolinc explains.

Pilot tests will take place in two phases, from April to August 2021

The first phase of marking and releasing the families began in April : During this six-issue phase, 10,000 male sterile mosquitoes are released per week, to estimate their survival, prevalence and sexual competitiveness with wild mosquitoes. Two launch techniques have been tested: on the ground and then by a drone.

The best editing technique will be chosen while The second stage of the struggle, which will take place after the return of the elected officials and residents of the municipality of St. Joseph, BesideRegional Health Agency (ARS) and the Board of Directors for Environment, Health, and Technology Risks (CODREST).

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This stage corresponds to the release of 50,000 infertile males per week.

Teams from town hall Saint Joseph Door-to-door, CIRAD informed nearly 200 families who lived in the vicinity of the operation for two weeks before the operation.

Review beta tests by August

These trials complement those of the IRD aimed at controlling the main vector of dengue fever, Aedes albopictus, in the municipality of Sainte-Marie.

The Revolinc project aims to demonstrate that improved SIT technology makes it possible to locally eliminate a relatively isolated vector such as the case of Aedes aegypti on Reunion Island. The aim is to avoid recolonization of environmental vents of Aedes albopictus return by Aedes aegypti. “ If these experiments are conclusive on local populations of Aedes aegypti, then this solution can be spread more widely. “Jeremy Boyer identifies.

The results of these beta tests will be compiled and returned in August to all relevant players. If positive, lThe enhanced TIS approach and the use of drones could be deployed in the long term against Aedes aegypti At the meeting.

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