20,000 GM mosquitoes released in WB

| 28/07/2016 | 56 Comments

(CNS): The Mosquito Research and Control Unit wasted no time Thursday morning with the controversial release of genetically modified Aedes aegypti. The planned release was put on hold for two weeks by the court during a judicial review, but after the stay was lifted Tuesday, some 20,000 of the bio-engineered mosquitoes were loose in West Bay. The legal challenge to the project was due to concerns that the MRCU has partnered with bio-engineering firm, Oxitec, in the pilot project to release millions of GM mosquitoes over the next few months before all of the risks to the environment and human health have been addressed.

The MRCU, however, seized the opportunity to press on with the full-scale trial that they hope will radically reduce and perhaps even eliminate the invasive disease-carrying mosquito.

Dr Renaud Lacroix from Oxitec said that they had taken an optimistic position on the court decision and had begun rearing the next batch of GM larvae in the hope that the stay would be lifted and they could begin the release immediately.

As West Bay is a hotspot for the Aedes aegypti, the release began there at 11:00am Thursday.

The team from the MRCU and Oxitec arrived behind the West Bay clinic with a cooler full of the bio-engineered insects and began opening 20 pots, each containing around 1,000 mosquitoes. As staff open the containers, the sterile male mosquitoes swarmed off on the hunt for wild females.

Cayman News Service

Genetically modified mosquitoes are released into the wild in West Bay, Grand Cayman

“The operation we are launching today in West Bay is the deployment of a tested technique,” said MRCU director Dr Bill Petrie. “It is a public health imperative that we control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and that is exactly what we are undertaking to do.”

The MRCU and government believes the safety and efficiency of the technique has been demonstrated through field releases in East End in 2009 and 2010, as well as Brazil and Panama. The Aedes aegypti population was reduced by more than 90% in the areas where these releases took place, Oxitec have stated.

Dr Lacroix told CNS he was confident that the technique is very safe and that people do not need to be concerned. The vast majority of bugs released are male and don’t bite; they will go on to mate with wild females and then die, he said. The wild females will then produce larvae which will not reach adulthood.

He explained that the small percentage that may survive into adulthood would also die quickly but if they managed to mate, that would also lead to prodigy that will not survive.

The Oxitec scientist said that while a very small percentage of GM females are inevitably released, they will also produce sterile offspring and die quickly. Even if a female GM mosquito was to bite a human and transmit any virus to another, this would not be any different from a wild mosquito doing the same thing. He said this was demonstrated through years of research in the lab as well as testing in the field.

Although there has been a lot of talk about the need to press ahead with the release because of the increasing public health risk locally from Zika, dengue fever and chikungunya, the reality is that the success of the Cayman trial will have greater implications overseas. While the Aedes aegypti is certainly a pest here, the risk it poses to Caymanians is considerably lower than the public health threat it poses in its native Africa, as well as in other developing parts of the world, from Asia to Latin America.

If the technology proves to be as good as Oxitec believes it can be, after years of lab research and limited field tests, then the UK-based bio-tech firm will be seeking to use the genetically modified bugs in places where yellow fever, West Nile virus and Zika, among others, are prevalent and present very serious public health risks.

Cayman recently confirmed its third imported case of Zika, but there is no evidence of any local transmission. The regional outbreak has however, raised concerns and it is believed to have had an adverse impact on local tourism, despite the very recent and low number of cases here.

Cayman News Service

The Oxitec van carries the GM mosquitoes

But having been given the greenlight by the court to begin the test, Dr Petrie said, “It is important that we are able to get on with the job as there is an urgency from the public health perspective.” he added, “We need to get the project back on track and put in place the preventative measures we have planned to reduce the risk of local transmission of mosquito-borne diseases.”

The World Health Organization has endorsed the pilot deployment under operational conditions to respond to the Zika crisis. The local project has the support of government and will be integrated with other control methods.

The treatment area in West Bay comprises 300 acres between Watercourse Road, Powell Smith Lane, Rev. Blackman Road and Hell Road. A hundred to 200 pots, each containing approximately a thousand genetically modified, non-biting male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, will be released around three times a week from the specially adapted Oxitec van, which will blow the mosquitoes into the environment.

The treatment phase in West Bay is expected to last around nine months and then be rolled out to other areas of Grand Cayman, subject to the relevant approvals. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are not affected by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, so there will be no release there.

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Category: Environmental Health, Health, Land Habitat, Medical Health, Science & Nature

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    But why do they have to turn them gay before they release them??

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Earl” soon come and blow’em all away…..Mexico and Belize get’em fa free mon.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well the mosquitoes are biting bad in west bay tonight, can’t even sit outside

  4. Anonymous says:

    Read Drudgereport.com and wake up….You are next Cayman… They released the same GMO’s here in the everglades last year and now we are overwhelmed by Zika bearing mosquitoes. Wake up before it is too lat for you.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are incorrect and you know it. You are purposely spreading misinformation. Given the severity of this disease to be making up such stories indicates that you are either very young or have a serious mental health problem. Where and when where these mosquitoes supposedly released? Who released them? Where did you get the information from (post a link or reference). If you cant do this please go back to playing with your lego.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to believe that this is a true troll, someone who’s pathetic little life means that they post absolute bullshit on websites to get a reaction,

    • Selena says:

      @8:22 pm
      know your audience. “Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
      ― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

  5. Anonymous says:

    yes sir! now we go see babies born with small heads that is from these herpes infected mosquitos, not zikka doing that birth defect, it’s these modified herpes mozzies causing it. Dangerous now to make babies in Cayman! Lots of small head babies coming up!

    Shame on all GMO approved stuff in this world!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Funny that people protest the safety of this measure. Yet these same people have no problem with the MRCU spraying insecticides, or people spaying OFF on their bodies!

    Mosquito vectored illnesses are (now and throughout history) a major problem globally.

    Do you realize the panic that will ensue if Zika and the vectoring mosquitoes become prevalent on our tropical island? And every hopeful mother has to fear the horrible birth (and lifetime) defect of microcephaly? Every hopeful mother would leave the island (I would!).

    • Anonymous says:

      @ Anonymous says:
      29/07/2016 at 1:18 pm

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (they always leave it to me, dang!) but the collaborators just released thousands more aedes agypti female mosquitoes who can transmit diseases. Totally screwed you are! And btw, why would you want something that has a life limiting gene floating around in your environment? Did anyone listen to what oxitec was really telling you all? LOLOLOL! You all are hilarious! Worried about diseases, then calling and begging for the disease itself to be injected! lmao!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Free the West Bay 20,000!

  8. Anonymous says:

    These mosquitos are in Cayman Brac, believed to be coming in on boats, and there is an established population. This kind of test would seem to be more effective with the island environment, and a smaller population of the mosquito.
    To say they are not there is a missed opportunity for proving the concept

    • Anonymous says:

      You are probably right. Below is from the “Why can’t we just kill all mosquitoes?” article.

      “Nasci points to the Herculean job that Latin America undertook in the 1950s and 1960s to eradicate Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits yellow fever — and also dengue, chikungunya and Zika. The Pan American Health Organization rolled out all the most effective measures — spraying insecticide such as DDT and discarding standing water containers — on a massive scale. But after efforts let up, the mosquitoes came buzzing right back, possibly hitching a ride on shipping vessels from Asia and Africa.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you sure? According to the MRCU, there are no Ae mosquitoes on the Brac.

  9. MM says:

    Oxitec says “Even if a female GM mosquito was to bite a human and transmit any virus to another, this would not be any different from a wild mosquito doing the same thing. He said this was demonstrated through years of research in the lab as well as testing in the field.”

    But someone from Oxitec had said the GMO mosquitoes cannot carry the diseases and that THAT had been tested in the lab…

    They also keep saying the males are essentially sterile – sterile is not being capable of reproduction NOT “producing offspring that die’ or ‘dying before producing offspring’ …. (More fancy words).

    If sterility is as the term is used by Oxitec to comfort us then every man who died before mating or every monk or man who chose not to have children or did not choose a woman or get a woman to mate and reproduce with him would be considered sterile….

    • pproved? says:

      They aren’t saying any of the things you are claiming. They are not sterile. The mosquitos are just like wild ones except their offspring will die before they grow up. The lab mosquitoes don’t have any diseases. If YOU have Zika, and a female bites you, it might pass on YOUR Zika to someone else just like a wild mosquito. If there are a couple of females among the lab mosquitos, so what? There are thousands of wild females out there already. Just because you think they are using fancy words doesn’t mean you are free to make shit up.

      • MM says:


        The wild mosquitos do not have the diseases either, they contract and carry it the same way you have explained…

        pproved? – the only thing you have just proven is that your input is highly irrelevant and unsupported on this matter.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think you are very confused about this whole topic. SIT is different from the Oxitec GM mosquito and usually involves radiation (that must be bad eah? we know what it did to Spiderman and David Banner). I still do not understand the point you are trying to make with this SIT link and would love to understand what you are thinking. Can you please go into more detail even if it is just to bring a smile to my face?

          • MM says:

            Read the info on the link moron, oxitec just says they use a supposedly better form of the same technique.

            It is obvious that the people who are supporting this project have accepted all the spoon-fed information but I must commend the desperate attempts to discredit the relevant information the opposer’s have produced.

            Shit will hit the fan eventually and please remember where you heard it first.

            • Anonymous says:

              I will indeed. Zika is now a threat in Miami with BBC advisories on women travelling there, The Doomsday scenario is starting to unfold. Perhaps Cayman has been saved, no thanks to you!


      • MM says:

        In addition, what I have said that they have said and as directly quoted in my post was copied and pasted straight from the article of which you have just read….

        Come again…

        • Anonymous says:

          Seriously; I am having trouble trying to decipher the points you are trying to make. Please take you time to consider what you want to say and then write it down in a slow and careful manner.

    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly, the mossies are smarter than most of the commentors on this site.

      Oxitec has said, even in this article, that they are releasing biting females. What else they said was that it doesn’t make sense to try to discredit their bite from the regular mosquito because it is equivalent to it. There’s nothing different about it. It will transmit whatever disease it encounters from an infected person. And you all hear talking about the males that don’t bite instead of focusing on the females that do.

      Hoping that you nitwits take the time to read it for yourselves, if you can, because I’m starting to really worry about the depth of your understanding.

      Oxitec is telling you that you are going to get bitten by mosquitoes that have the capability to spread disease. And you all are still arguing amongst yourselves instead of arguing with Oxitec.

      What a bunch of idiots!!!!

      PS.. I have an automatic standard transmission car with an analog computerized system for sale. Full black,painted white. Just 51 dollars or 500 cents. Does anyone want to buy it? Let me know. Will send picture on receipt of funds.

  10. pproved? says:


  11. Anonymous says:


  12. Anonymous says:

    How many times do they have to say THE MALES DONT BITE lol. Why be worried? I support this

  13. Keith Stewartson says:

    The head of the group against the release has this posted, (I won’t name call)

    “Someone just told me that they saw on daybreak MRCU talking about releasing today? ! Wow these people are all snakes. What’s with the rush?! Such secrecy?! Such stealth. Man these people are awful. ..and my silent representatives. Oh my silent leaders. One senior called me saying: “what I’m going to do today?” I could hear it in her voice. My silence to her …i will not forget. Just wrong on so many levels.
    Dear Lord be with us and move mightily for thy glory sake.”

    He is pushing an agenda and using fear to drive it. Throws in religion to the pot for bonus points. This is the reaction when the long respected MRCU department tries to benefit the health of the community as they have for decades.

    “Man these people are awful.” – this is being done for the good of everyone, even other countries. Just as ignorant as anti-vaccine groups. Why does he not also call doctors and nurses awful? Pray to your god that he’ll regulate your blood sugar without medication that a scientist synthesized in a laboratory and see how far you get down the month.

    You (CNS) stated,

    “Dr Renaud Lacroix from Oxitec said that they had taken an optimistic position on the court decision and had begun rearing the next batch of GM larvae in the hope that the stay would be lifted and they could begin the release immediately.”

    • Unison says:

      Why must you berate God to push your atheistic agenda?! So “God” was used in his statement. Get over it! Majority of Caymanians believe in God!

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s funny whenever someone use simple logic they are labeled atheist. Speaks alot about the reasoning power of Christians.

        • Unison says:

          I’m not a Christian! But I don’t blame God for the Bible nor Koran nor what Christian people say or do! I don’t put God’s name in such issues. That is like blaming the devil for every wrong view or deed committed.

  14. Anonymous says:

    As a tourist, and I do admit I have not read all these articles, but for some reason, this makes me a bit uncomfortable. I do not like even one mosquito flying around and now there are 20,000 being released. Hope this is successful !

    • StopTheCrime says:

      The ones they are releasing do not bite. Males do not bite.. they simply mate with the native females and produce sterile offspring, ending the lineage. Nothing to be afraid of. Too many worry warts around here who are always skeptical of science.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Good. Let’s leave science in the hands of Scientists and not some NIMBYist who think they are experts just because they read an article or two on the Internet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Scientists work for money just like everyone else, please dont think they are unbiased as a tourist that has visited your island many many times , sorry this is a deal beaker for me

      • pproved? says:

        You are obviously a troll, not a tourist.

        • Anonymous says:

          7:37- I am definitely a tourist & have been traveling to GC for over 20 years (sometimes 2 times a year). Posters can say what they want- not into mosquitos at home or abroad & the thought of 20,000 makes me “uncomfortable “. I am not a scientist and I do hope this program is successful.

          • Anonymous says:

            20,000 of which, maybe, 1 will be the biting females. There are (probably) more biting females born while we write and read these comments than released this morning. Still uncomfortable.

          • pproved? says:

            Everytime you came there were gazillions of mosquitos around and all of a sudden you are uncomfortable? You are a troll.

            • Anonymous says:

              Never had much problem with mosquitos on GC, but had issues with sand flies (no-see-ums). I use OFF at sunset and stay off the beaches and no bites. The CDC from the US has said to use OFF or DEET on our bodies to protect from Zika etc.
              Pretty ignorant to call me a troll when I am just offering an opinion while even stating I have not researched the topic completely and hoping it will be successful. Very defensive re. this topic.

          • Anonymous says:

            As a tourist, I am very surprised that you are comfortable with all chemicals they are currently ineffectualing using to control the mosquito population, many are banned in countries for being carcenogenic and altering human DNA.

            Its funny what you are comfortable with

            • Anonymous says:

              The level of knowledge here scares me; why would we use chemicals that caused cancer?

              • Anonymous says:

                For the same reason that we put potentially carcinogenic chlorine (but with very, very low and controlled concentrations) into our water supplies to prevent water-borne diseases.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Yes, massa; no, massa. Enneh ting you seh, massa. I do not tink fo myseff massa. I muss not ax you no ques-shuns massa. You are my god, massa.”

      That’s fine if you want to live like the above mental slave; don’t speak for me.

      Scientists are not God; and in case you haven’t learnt by now, proof that you probably don’t spend a lot of time on the internet researching many topics, most opinions and proofs are paid for. Expert advice is paid for. Scientists work for bodies that pay them, whether they are for research experiments or private sector investors.

      With the financial situation Oxitec is in, a few million CI dollars now is a real gift for them.

      Don’t forget that eBola is a patented disease OWNED by the US GOVERNMENT and created by 5 scientists. eBola has killed a suspected 11,310 people in 3 African states alone. The real truth about the death toll will never be known. https://www.google.com/patents/US20120251502

      You’re dumber than a male mosquito to want your future and the future of the CI in the hands of greedy, wicked, unconscionable humans who want to be gods…or rather: who want to be God.

  16. Anonymous says:


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