A fresh approach to suppressing the Asian tiger mosquito, a highly invasive species that transmits disease-causing viruses, has been used to nearly eradicate these insects from two test sites in China.

Mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue, chikungunya and Zika, are major public-health threats1. Because neither vaccines nor effective drug treatments are available for most mosquito-borne viruses, vector control — that is, suppression of the mosquito populations that transmit viruses — remains the primary means of reducing disease incidence. The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has spread rapidly in recent years, is increasingly prevalent in densely populated urban environments and is resistant to conventional vector-control practices2Writing in Nature, Zheng et al.3 describe a new control strategy that almost completely eliminated Ae. albopictus from two experimental field sites, providing encouragement for future approaches to control Ae. albopictus and other vector mosquitoes.

 

James Gathany, CDC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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