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To Fend Off Dengue

Rates of dengue fever infections have fallen at sites in Brazil, Indonesia, and Vietnam following the introduction of resistant Aedes aegypti mosquitos, Nature News reports.

Researchers from the World Mosquito Program reported at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene annual meeting that when they released mosquitos carrying Wolbachia bacteria — which make the mosquitos resistant to viruses like the ones that cause dengue, chikungunya, and Zika — that it spread throughout the local mosquito population, Nature News adds. Overall, in Indonesia, the researchers reported a 76 percent drop in dengue fever cases over two and a half years, as compared to sites where the test was not taking place, and noted similar declines in Brazil and Vietnam.

"We are very encouraged by the public health impact we are seeing — it highlights the potential of this approach to fight dengue and related mosquito-borne diseases at a global scale," Cameron Simmons, director of impact assessment and an expert in the epidemiology of dengue at WMP, tells HealthDay.

Additionally, researchers from Australia, Malaysia, and the UK report in Current Biology that when they released a strain of Wolbachia that is stable and effective at the high temperatures seen in many dengue-affected regions, it too spread throughout their test site in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and reduced the number of dengue cases there.

"These findings show that we have a strain of Wolbachia that can be used to effectively reduce the number of dengue cases in very hot climates," senior author Steven Sinkins from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, says in a statement.