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Mosquitoes Mutating to Avoid Pesticides, Researchers Say

Dec. 22, 2022 — Mosquitoes are proving to be as resistant to control as they are annoying, with many evolving to avoid the threat of pesticides and becoming “super” mosquitoes, researchers report.

A mosquito species known for carrying disease — aedes aegypti — has developed mutations at a high rate, according to researchers at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan. Researchers looked at mosquitoes in areas of Vietnam and Cambodia where dengue is common. 

In addition to dengue, this species of mosquito is also known for its role in spreading yellow fever and Zika virus, according to the study. A troubling mutation was found in 78% of the mosquitoes examined.                                                                             

ABC News reported that “The findings could pose a serious threat to infectious disease control and eradication programs, as the mutation is some of the highest insecticide resistance seen in a field population of mosquitoes.”

“It is important to be aware that the insecticides we normally use may not be effective against mosquitoes,” Shinji Kasai, author of the study and a senior research scientist of the NIID’s Department of Medical Entomology, told ABC News.

The study was published this week in Science Advances.

The ABC report noted that mosquitoes seem to be evolving to avoid human attempts to wipe them out. Earlier this year, researchers found that mosquitoes are learning to avoid pesticides meant to kill them.

Study authors wrote, “Further experiments to characterize each mutation is necessary… (adding the) stark fact that threats for controlling dengue and other arboviral infectious diseases are certainly looming.”

Abdullah Anaman
Abdullah Anaman
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