Dengue fever concerns at the World Cup lead to uncertain genetically modified solutions

Lana Bandoim's picture
Dengue Fever
Advertisement

Dengue fever kills more than a million people around the world each year, and Brazil has a high infection rate. There have been concerns at the FIFA World Cup about the dangers of the disease, and one of the solutions involves a genetically modified mosquito. Dengue fever is a virus spread by mosquitoes that leads to a rash, bleeding, high fever, muscle pain, joint pain and other symptoms.

Dengue fever at the FIFA World Cup

The Ministry of Health in Brazil has created a series of campaigns to inform visitors and locals about the dangers of dengue fever. Although the virus is prevalent in Brazil and other parts of South America, it is less likely to be found in the United States. However, each year there are cases of dengue fever in the U.S., and many of them come from people who have traveled abroad.

Advertisement

There is no cure for dengue fever, but people can reduce their chances of getting the virus by avoiding mosquitoes and wearing repellent. Officials point out that winter in Brazil means mosquito activity is lower, so the risk for visitors is smaller. However, travelers need to take precautions and not ignore the risks associated with the disease.

Genetically modified mosquitoes at the World Cup

Genetically modified mosquitoes have been introduced in Brazil as a solution to fighting dengue fever during the World Cup. The controversial decision has left many locals worried about the consequences of using mutated mosquitoes to control the insect population, but the program is continuing. The genetically modified mosquitoes from Oxitec have a special gene that leads to a quick death, so Brazil is releasing mutated male mosquitoes with the gene to mate with normal female mosquitoes. The Ministry of Health believes this will help destroy the mosquito population and reduce dengue fever.

Image: ProjectManhattan/Wikimedia Commons

Advertisement