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Topic: Bill Petrie
The head of Cayman’s Mosquito Control and Research Unit, one of the driving forces behind the use of genetically modified mosquitoes on the island, is leaving the role.
The National Conservation Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the islandwide rollout of the genetically modified mosquito program without the need for a new independent risk assessment. Bill Petrie, head of the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, said a national program using the technique to fight the disease-spreading Aedes aegypti mosquito could begin in February next year.
Dry weather over the past weeks may signal the end of mosquito season for the year, and with it a lower threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The number of suspected Zika cases has dropped significantly from a high of more than 20 per week at the end of the summer to one or two cases per week now.
In dueling votes over a proposed trial of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes, voters across one Florida county supported releasing the insects, while voters in the town earmarked for the project rejected holding the trial there. Key Haven voted overwhelmingly Tuesday against the proposal, but voters in Monroe County supported holding the trial.
Cayman Islands public health officials are hosting a series of meetings aimed at informing local residents, especially pregnant women, about risks associated with the Zika virus. The meetings are set to start on Tuesday.
The Cayman Islands’ fourth imported case of the Zika virus was confirmed Wednesday by public health officials.