The development of genetically modified mosquito populations with greater disease resistance is one of the latest fronts in the battle against vector-borne diseases like malaria.
(YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images)
Mosquito-borne diseases have plagued civilizations for millennia. Even today, malaria, dengue and yellow fever continue to constrain economic development in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia and South America where they are endemic. But compared with these enduring threats, acute outbreaks of illnesses such as Zika and chikungunya have gotten far more attention recently. Though the diseases themselves were first identified decades ago, the magnitude of their spread -- facilitated by factors including higher population density, greater urbanization, globalization and the increased range of mosquitoes that carry them -- is unprecedented. Acute disease outbreaks have occurred with greater frequency worldwide since 1980. At the same time, new incidences of vector-borne illnesses -- those carried by one organism and transmitted to another -- have cropped up as methods for detecting and tracking disease have improved. A recent bulletin from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, reported a new...
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