UN: Stopping Zika may require genetically modified insects

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Image: CNN/MGN

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization says it might be necessary to use controversial methods like genetically modified mosquitoes to wipe out the insects that are now spreading Zika across the Americas.

The virus has been linked to a spike in babies born with abnormally small heads in Brazil and French Polynesia. WHO has declared Zika a global emergency, even though there is no definitive proof it is causing the birth defects.

In a statement on Tuesday, WHO said its advisory group has recommended further field trials of genetically modified mosquitoes, following trials in the Cayman Islands where sterile male mosquitoes were released to mate with wild females.

Environmentalists have previously criticized this approach, saying it’s impossible to know the long-term effects of wiping out an entire insect population.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.