Special Mosquitoes Fight Dengue
Over in Australia an outbreak of Dengue fever, a mosquito transmitted disease has been defeated by ‘special’ mosquitoes! A release of these insects that have been bred in captivity which carry a naturally occurring bacteria called Wolbachia, has meant that these pests have mated with local mosquitoes causing the disruption of viruses such as Dengue from growing, and reduces their transmission. Here’s an article with more information:
Australian researchers say for the first time an entire city has been protected from viral disease dengue. Captive-bred mosquitoes with a naturally occurring bacteria were released in the city of Townsville, where they mated with local mosquitoes. By spreading the bacteria Wolbachia, which hinders dengue transmission, the city has been dengue-free since 2014. Researchers from Monash University also believe their work could stop mosquito-borne diseases Zika and malaria.
This is a huge breakthrough, and if using the same method could possibly help prevent the spread of zika and malaria, then scientists are really onto something.
Globally, dengue fever is on the rise. Just last year, cases of the mosquito-borne disease reached an all-time high in Australia, infecting around 2,000 people total. But the city of Townsville in the state of Queensland hasn’t seen a single case in the last four years, despite being in the perfect habitat for the disease. That’s because, the citizens of Townsville released millions of mosquitoes infected with a certain bacteria that prevents them from spreading the disease. If deployed globally, the technique could help protect the over 2 billion people living in the range of the disease.
With genetic modification being controversial, not everyone may see this as the way forward. It’s a subject that many feel uncomfortable with, which is understandable. Here’s a video of how scientists view that this method can help fight against mosquito borne diseases.
Whatever your views may be, we should all be taking the same approach when it comes to preventing the spread of mosquito borne disease, and that is to be aware, be protected and be an advocate to sharing the knowledge of keeping safe.