Using Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue Fever

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Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes

Dengue fever is a disease that can cause a range of problems for a society. It can be difficult to combat when outbreaks occur and there can often be hurdles to administering the necessary treatment. In light of these facts, some researchers have started using some creative measures to combat the disease.

One nation that has significant problems that are related to outbreaks of dengue fever is Brazil. The nation recently started a program to limit the cases of infection by releasing mosquitoes that have bacteria that combats the disease in insects. Other countries that are trying this method include Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The Mosquitoes that are being released are infected with a bacterium known as Wolbachia. It works sort of like a vaccine for the insects and it prevents the reproduction of the dengue virus. The bacteria cannot be transmitted to humans and the hope is that the Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes will supplant the position of the dengue carriers and thus, reduce the cases of humans infected with the dengue virus.

The program basically works under the biological principle of natural selection. If a male mosquito that carries the bacteria fertilizes the eggs of a female dengue carrier, the eggs will not produce offspring. If the female or both parents have the bacteria, then all future generations will carry the protection against dengue. As a result, the mosquitoes that carry the bacteria should become the dominant form in the regions where they are released.

In the coming years, researchers intend to gather data in regard to the cases of human infection and mosquito population in these regions. The plan is to analyze this data and study the effects of the program in order to determine whether this is a viable option for combating the disease worldwide.