Inserting mosquitoes with bacteria reduces diseases such as dengue by 77%, study finds

A groundbreaking trial has cut dengue fever cases by 77% according to the World Mosquito Program.

Researchers have found that the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases can be blocked by breeding mosquitoes that carry a safe and natural bacterium called Wolbachia.

According to statistics, there are up to 400 million infections of dengue fever a year. It is the world’s fastest-growing tropical disease and 40% of the global population is at risk of dengue.

Professor Scott O’Neill, Director of the World Mosquito Program, told Euronews this is a very exciting breakthrough.

“What we have done is put a naturally occurring bacterium into mosquitoes. And when they have that bacterium, they’re no longer able to transmit these viruses to people.”

“And so this study today reports the measurement of the efficacy of this intervention when it’s been put over large numbers of people in a city in Indonesia, a city of around 400,000 people. And what we measured was an 86% reduction in hospitalisations due to dengue fever as a result of the introduction of these mosquitoes.”

Professor O’Neill added their goal is to scale back the disease during the next ten years.

“Nearly all tropical cities in the world suffer from not only this disease but other viruses transmitted by the same mosquito Zika, Yellow fever, chikungunya, the list goes on. We’re currently working in 11 countries around the world. And what we’re finding is that we can put the method out and we’re seeing that we can scale it off in large population centres.”

To listen to the full interview please click on the player above.

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