Scientists infect mosquitoes with bacteria to stop the transmission of dengue fever in Indonesia, dropping infection rates by 77 percent

D. Avery,  Daily Mail,  2020.

Mosquitoes infected with a unique bacteria have led to a ‘staggering’ drop in dengue fever in Indonesia, researchers say.

Dengue, a tropical virus that causes high fever and aches, infects some 400 million people each year and kills up to 25,000.

Scientists released millions of mosquitoes injected with Wolbachia, a bacterium that prevents them from transmitting the virus.

The team found that dengue infections were 77 percent lower in treated neighborhoods, compared to areas not exposed to the infected insects.

‘This is a real breakthrough, a new hope for us, for the people and hopefully for the program,’ says Adi Utarini, public health researcher at Yogyakarta’s University of Gadjah Mada, who co-authored the study.

Over a three year period, bacteria-carrying mosquitoes were released into a dozen randomly chosen areas in the city of more than 300,000, while twelve other were selected as controls.

 


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