Economy March 1, 2016 | 11:01 am

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Dominican techs declare nuclear war on virus vector mosquitos

Santo Domingo.- Dominican technicians have been training tocontrol the Aedes Aegypti mosquito with sterile males provided by theInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the request of the Energy andMines Ministry.

The training held in Brasilia last week focused on the useof nuclear techniques to produce a sterile insect population to control themosquito which transmits dengue, zika and chikungunya viruses.

"The goal is that this meeting will serve to increaseawareness of our professionals and encourage a national action on an integratedvector management plan using the sterile insect technique, focused on Aedes Aegyptus,"Nuclear Energy Deputy minister Angelita Peña said

This technique is also being used to eradicate outbreaks ofthe Mediterranean fruit fly in the country’s eastern region, through the AgricultureMinistry’s MoscaMedRD program with technical assistance by the Nuclear Energy viceministry to manage IAEA resources, to develop a sterile insect pest management program.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the SterileInsect Technique (SIT) requires raising huge amounts of insects of the targetspecies, after which the males are sterilized with low doses of radiation.

The sterile males are released in huge quantities in areasaffected by pests to overcome the wild males. Upon mating with females, they cannotreproduce and the population begins to disappear.

National Center for Disease Control director Luz Mercedes attendedthe training together with Entomology manager Thomas Angel Solis Montero.

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