Dengue rates drop after release of modified mosquitoes in Colombia

M. Lenharo,  Nature,  2023.

Three cities in Colombia saw a dramatic fall in the incidence of dengue in the years following the introduction of mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia, a bacterium that prevents the insect from transmitting viruses. In neighbourhoods where the Wolbachia mosquitoes were well established, dengue incidence dropped by 94–97%. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were released by the World Mosquito Program (WMP), a non-profit organization that has been conducting similar experiments in Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam, among other countries. In Colombia, the modified mosquitoes were released in one of the country’s most populous regions. “That’s the largest continuous releases of Wolbachia [mosquitoes] globally so far, in terms of the population covered and the area,” says Katie Anders, an epidemiologist at the WMP and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Anders presented the results on 22 October at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Chicago, Illinois.

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