Is Bill Gates Creating Mosquitoes to Spread Malaria?

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There’s a conspiracy theory that Bill Gates has developed mosquitoes that are capable of spreading Malaria. That’s not quite accurate. First, he’s backing a company that has genetically modified mosquitoes. Second, these aren’t responsible for an outbreak.

Here’s what we do know:

A rare strain of malaria has emerged in Texas and Florida this summer, sparking debates over its origins, including suspicions about genetically modified mosquitoes that were reportedly released in these states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that the U.S. has experienced local malaria transmissions for the first time in two decades, with four cases in Florida and one in Texas. This resurgence of malaria has led some to speculate about the involvement of genetically modified mosquitoes, a project allegedly linked to philanthropist Bill Gates.

However, experts have largely dismissed these claims, attributing the outbreak instead to climate change, which creates a warmer environment that can support the malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation clarified that it does not fund genetically modified mosquito release projects in the U.S. According to the Associated Press, the foundation has supported Oxitec, a biotech company known for its genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida aimed at controlling diseases like Dengue and Zika, but not malaria.

The Associated Press has also highlighted that the narrative connecting the Gates Foundation to malaria cases through mosquito releases is based on misinformation. A spokesperson from the Gates Foundation stated, “The foundation funds and supports ways to combat malaria and has not completed mosquito releases in the U.S.”

In Florida, the genetically-modified mosquitoes released by Oxitec are male Aedes aegypti, which are incapable of transmitting malaria. These mosquitoes were released in the Florida Keys, far from Sarasota County where the recent malaria cases were reported.

Despite the scientific explanations, social media has seen a flurry of conspiracy theories linking these health incidents to Gates-backed initiatives. The AP has labeled these claims as “false claims and conspiracy theories.”

Historically, the U.S. has witnessed sporadic outbreaks of locally transmitted malaria, with 11 occurrences since 1992. The last such outbreak before the current one was in 2003 in Palm Beach County, Florida, where eight cases were reported.

As the situation develops, health experts continue to monitor the spread of malaria while emphasizing the importance of accurate information in addressing public health concerns.

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