West Nile In NJ - My9 New Jersey

West Nile In NJ

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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

In the past year, there have been eleven reported cases of West Nile Virus in New Jersey. West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and can be deadly. Camden has just reported its fifth case, and New Jersey has already seen two deaths due to the virus.

There is a mosquito control effort in Key West, Florida to stop the spread of another mosquito-born disease called Dengue Fever.

Chasing New Jersey’s Tamara Laine directed a documentary called “Scratching the Surface”, which is screening in Key West this weekend. The documentary takes a look at the controversial world of genetically engineered animals. Key West is a destination that attracts both tourists and residents. In 2009, however, there community was shaken up by a record-setting Dengue Fever outbreak.

In 2012, Key West residents discovered a plan by British-based Oxitec to conduct a public release of up to 4 million genetically engineered mosquitoes on their streets. “Scratching the Surface” follows their stories and expert opinions on the potential outcomes of such a release.

Genetic engineering is a new debate in pest control and human health. Luke Alphey, Oxitec’s Chief Scientific Officer, says that the GE Mosquitoes are designed to die off. “We arranged these male mosquitoes to carry a sterile gene that will kill a mosquito if it develops with this gene in it. So the males that we release have two copies of this gene then they mate with wild females, and all the offspring will inherent one copy of this leather gene, and their offspring will die.” He said.

However Key West residents, like Mila De Mier, have greater concerns about the risks to her children and the environment. “I did an online petition, through change.org, to raise awareness, originally it had 1,500 then…it reached 112,000.” She said.

The question remains however, if these mosquitos do not work, who is reliable for them?

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