Dengue breakthrough!

with mosquitoes laced with natural bacteria

dengue mosquito

Amid all of the bad news associated with COVID-19 there is a bit of good news hidden in the Guardian today. They report on a major breakthrough in the fight against dengue fever – which impacted so badly on Madeira just eight years ago.

The newspaper describes how infections in an Indonesian city plummetted after the release of mosquitoes injected with the Wolbachia bacteria – infecting mosquitoes with this naturally occurring bacteria has been proven to dramatically reduce their ability to transmit dengue, according to a breakthrough study that could pave the way to eliminating the disease.

The research conducted in Indonesia, where there are 7 million dengue cases each year, found that releasing mosquitoes infected with the bacteria Wolbachia into parts of Yogyakarta city reduced the number of dengue infections by 77% compared with untreated areas.

“We are really hopeful this will lead to local elimination [of dengue] in Yogyakarta city, and the next stage is to scale up beyond Yogyakarta to other parts of Indonesia,” said Dr Katie Anders, director of impact assessment at the World Mosquito Program, and one of the study’s lead researchers.

It is also understood that the Wolbachia bacteria also prevents the spread of other viruses such as chikungunya and zika. At the moment there is still no treatment for dengue.

The full in-depth article in the Guardian is here.

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