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‘Miraculous’ Mosquito Hack Cuts Dengue by 77%

Just as mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit affect tropical societies, taking advantage of society’s own plague of mosquitoes, Wolbachia bacteria, is helping Indonesia fight dengue fever.

Scientists creating an epidemic of Wolbachia Dengue infection rates among mosquitoes in Indonesia were reduced by 77%, opening new doors in the possible control of mosquito-borne epidemics.

Sometimes called “bone fracture fever” due to the severe joint and muscle pain resulting from the infection, dengue, which is transmitted primarily through the West Nile mosquito. Aedes aegypti, it can put a human out of action for a month.

Distributed throughout the world along trade routes outside Asia since the 2nd century BC. C., there are now between 100 and 400 million infections. all over the world every year.

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The city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia was the site of a World Mosquito Program trial to see if perhaps dengue could be controlled using a species of bacteria that is often found in a. aegypti. Wolbachia it is perhaps the most common reproductive parasite in the biosphere, and between 25% and 70% of all insect species carry it.

World Mosquito Program

The logic is that this “miracle” bacterium lives in the mosquito exactly where the dengue fever is trying to go, while competing for resources like food. The theory is that Wolbachia it would compete and prevent dengue from reproducing.

It wasn’t a long shot like Wolbachia it was also used to prevent the spread of the Zika virus in Brazil in 2016.

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Five million mosquito eggs were infected with wolbachia, and they were left in buckets of water around the city over the course of 9 months to create a constant population of infected mosquitoes.

The results were successes at the vaccine level, with the spread of the four varieties of dengue reduced by 77% and the hospitalization rate by 86%, in 12 geographical areas of Yogyakarta where they were deployed compared to 12 other areas where they were not. they were.

Director of Impact Evaluation of the World Mosquito Program described the results as “innovative”, adding that “we believe it can have an even greater impact when implemented on a large scale in the world’s big cities, where dengue is a major public health problem.”

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