According to the World Health Organization, mosquito- borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and chikungunya, kill almost a million people worldwide every year. Israel-based Forrest Innovations introduced a novel technique of sterilizing and releasing male mosquitoes—which don’t transmit diseases—as a means of natural vector control (NVC). As the male mosquitoes are released into the environment, they seek out and copulate with the disease-carrying females, thus gradually suppressing the mosquito populations below disease-transmission levels. By preventing the procreation of disease-carrying female mosquitoes, the next generation of mosquito disease carriers is curtailed.
Forrest partnered with the Technology Institute of Parana and the local authority of the Brazilian city Jacarezinho, which has suffered several dengue epidemics in the past decade. A controlled pilot project in Jacarezinho reduced the mosquito population by more than 90 percent in areas where the mosquitos were deployed, compared to untreated areas. Dramatically, an outbreak of dengue that overtook the city was almost completely blocked by the NVC deployment. The success of this pilot program has resulted in further partnerships with local Brazilian cities, and now Forrest is expanding to help other municipalities and governments decrease the spread of these deadly disease-spreading mosquitoes.