Photo: Sveriges Radio.
Mosquito researcher Jan Lundström. Photo: Sveriges Radio. Credit: Sveriges Radio

Mosquito expert Swede summoned to battle Zika

"I'm an expert on large scale mosquito control"
2:29 min

Swedish mosquito researcher Jan Lundström, who helped battle mosquitoes in the lower Dal River during an especially buggy summer 2015, has been invited to Brazil to help fight the Zika virus.

Brazil is now mobilizing 200,000 soldiers to help in the effort to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to the development of small heads and brain damage in newborns when it is contracted by pregnant women. The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency, and the BBC reported Thursday night that a pregnant woman in Spain was diagnosed with the disease.

Mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, which breed in standing water and bite during the day, spread the disease. Aedes aegypti, typically associated with yellow fever, has been connected with spreading most Zika cases.

Lundström told Radio Sweden that he will attend a meeting of experts to discuss a strategy to control Aedes aegypti.

"I think the reason they're bringing me in is that I'm an expert on large scale mosquito control and that I'm also one of the experts on the sterile insect technique for controlling mosquitoes," said Lundström.

What is the sterile insect technique?

"It means you interrupt the mating by introducing a very large number of sterile males. The female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, they will mate with these males and say 'OK I made it. Let's make some eggs and have some larvae.' They will lay eggs, but there will be no larvae. So the population of Aedes aegypti will crash," he said.

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