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Alleged Bill Gates GMO Mosquitoes Not Proven to Cause Malaria in the US

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
30th June 2023
Alleged Bill Gates GMO Mosquitoes Not Proven to Cause Malaria in the US
Oxitec fights Aedes diseases with GMO mosquitos (Getty)

The Claim

For the first time in two decades, Florida and Texas are experiencing cases of malaria transmitted by mosquitoes because of Bill Gates' introduction of genetically modified (GMO) mosquitoes in these areas.

Emerging story

Social media users recently claimed that Bill Gates' introduction of GMO mosquitoes has led to the first malaria cases in Florida and Texas in twenty years.

A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating claim and found it to be fake.

To begin with, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has not provided financial support for any mosquito release projects within the United States. While the foundation does support the efforts to combat malaria, mosquito-related initiatives in the U.S. are not among them.

Although the Gates Foundation has partnered with biotech company Oxitec, it is essential to note that their work in the United States is not funded by the foundation. Oxitec is indeed releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida, but the aim is to control diseases carried by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, such as Dengue fever and the Zika virus. These mosquitoes are not capable of transmitting malaria.

It is worth noting that the malaria cases reported in Florida occurred in Sarasota County, which is not in close proximity to the Florida Keys, where the Oxitec project is located.

Malaria Detected in the Southern U.S. for the First Time in 20 Years

County officials in Florida have taken immediate action to address the recent detection of malaria in the southern United States after a 20-year absence. With a cluster of cases reported in Florida's Sarasota County and an additional case in Texas's Cameron County, authorities are implementing necessary measures to combat the spread of this mosquito-borne disease. 

The resurgence of malaria in the southern U.S. has raised concerns among health officials. Sarasota County, responding to the heightened disease activity in the area, has announced the implementation of "aerial treatments" to control the mosquito population. In a statement released on Tuesday, the county revealed its plan to use airplanes and trucks to spray pesticides overnight, aiming to halt the further spread of malaria.

Health Advisory from the CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a health advisory in response to the recent cases of malaria. While the majority of reported cases in the U.S. are from travelers returning from abroad, locally-transmitted outbreaks are rare. The last incident of locally-transmitted malaria occurred in Florida in 2003, with eight reported cases. Now, the latest cases have been identified in Sarasota County, Florida, and Cameron County, Texas.

Malaria Outbreak Details

Sarasota County, located south of Tampa along the Gulf of Mexico, reported a cluster of four patients with malaria. Additionally, a single case was identified in Cameron County, Texas. Notably, the patient in Texas had no recent travel history outside the state and was a local resident who had spent significant time working outdoors. These cases highlight the potential for the disease to be transmitted locally and serve as a reminder for doctors and residents, especially those residing in warm and mosquito-prone areas, to remain vigilant.

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