By infecting mosquitoes with a bacteria that reduces its ability to spread the dengue virus, scientists said they were able to reduce dengue cases by 77% and hospitalizations for infections by 86%.
According to the BBC report, scientists conducted an experiment in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to combat mosquitoes that spread dengue fever.
The experiment used mosquitoes infected with a bacteria called “Wolbachia”, a “natural miracle” that reduces its ability to spread the dengue virus.
In the experiment, which published the results in the New England Journal of Medicine, 5 million mosquito eggs were infected with Wolbachia bacteria.
It took researchers 9 months to build a population of infected mosquitoes, which they dropped into buckets of water every 2 weeks in the city.
As a result of the experiment, it was determined that mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia bacteria were only released in half of the city divided into 24 districts, resulting in a 77% reduction in dengue cases. and an 86% reduction in hospitalizations due to infection.
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Of the research team, Dr. Katie Anders, while describing the results as groundbreaking, said they had achieved more success than expected with the bacteria, which she described as a “natural miracle”.
The World Mosquito Program team said that depending on the results, the study could be an opportunity to eradicate dengue.
The researchers said the bacteria “Wolbachia” blocks the sources that allow the virus that causes dengue fever to live in mosquitoes, and stressed that the bacteria do not harm mosquitoes.
Dengue fever infects 400 million people EVERY year
The dengue virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. The disease, which usually causes a mild fever after the incubation period, can be fatal in some cases. Cases increase during the months of June-September and December-March, which are commonly known as the rainy seasons.
Scientists say the high temperatures and prolonged rainfall have caused an increase in the number of mosquitoes carrying malaria and dengue fever. Since the mosquito species that transmits the disease creates larvae in puddles, especially in industrial environments, garbage puddles should be sprayed continuously.
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The epidemic, which infects around 400 million people each year and can lead to death, is also called “broken bone fever” because it has symptoms similar to the pain of broken bones.