The local battle against mosquitoes that may carry the zika virus now has a biological dimension.
The Ministerio de Salud said that it is using a bacterial approach. The ministry is using Saccharopolyspora spinosa, a bacteria that was isolated in 1982 from an abandoned rum still in the Virgin Islands.
The bacteria produce compounds that are natural pesticides and can kill the larvae of mosquitoes when placed in water where the creatures are growing.
The main target in Costa Rica is the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and health workers have been battling the insect for years
because it also can carry dengue, malaria and other diseases. The pesticides are nerve toxins that are effective even in small dosages, according to research reports. There have been no reports of dangers to humans.
The bacteria are under patent, and the produce is marketed as pills that can be put in water.
The ministry said that it was recommending that municipalities and firms with water tanks, such as some tourism operations, begin using this product to protect against the hatching of mosquitoes. The bacteria are living organisms that continues to produce what are called spinosads that can provide protection for quantities of water for as much as 10 weeks, the ministry said.
The same bacteria have shown success in protecting some vegetable crops from pests, according to online descriptions.