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Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Mosquitoes carrying ‘Wolbachia’ bacteria results in decreased dengue, say Indonesian researchers

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Researchers in Indonesia have found a solution to combat the Dengue bacteria-carrying mosquito by breeding a species of insect which includes a type of bacteria that forestalls viruses like dengue from growing inside them.

Wolbachia Bacteria

Mosquitoes carrying 'Wolbachia'

Wolbachia is a common bacteria that is produced naturally in 60% of insect species, which includes a few mosquitoes, fruit flies, moths, dragonflies and butterflies.

It is not, however, found in dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, according to World Mosquito Program (WMP) which is a non-profit organisation that initiated the research.

“In principle, we are breeding the ‘good’ mosquitoes,” said Purwanti, a WMP community cadre. “The mosquitoes carrying dengue will mate with mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia, which will produce Wolbachia mosquitoes – the ‘good’ mosquitoes. So even if they bite people, it won’t affect them”.

Lab-bred Wolbachia mosquitoes sent in Yogyakarta

Since 2017, a joint study performed by WMP at Australia’s Monash University and Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University has been liberating lab-bred Wolbachia mosquitoes across a few dengue fever ‘red zones’ in the Indonesian town of Yogyakarta.

Decrease in dengue cases

The trial results, posted by the New England Journal of Medicine in June, confirmed that deploying mosquitoes with Wolbachia decreased dengue instances using as much as 77% and hospitalizations by as much as 86%.

“We’re confident in this technology, particularly for areas where the Aedes aegypti mosquito is the most responsible (infection) factor,” WMP lead researcher Adi Utarini, who has been working on Indonesia’s Eliminate Dengue Program since 2011, told Reuters.

Statistics of dengue fever over the world

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide dengue infections have risen unexpectedly in recent decades, with approximately half of the world’s populace now at risk. Approximately 100-400 million infections are reported each year.

“All three of my children have been infected with dengue and hospitalised … It’s always on my mind, thinking about how to keep my village healthy and clean,” said 62-year-old Sri Purwaningsih, whose family volunteered for the WMP program.

Also read: INDIA TO FACE EXTREME WINTERS, TEMPERATURE LIKELY TO GO BELOW 3 DEGREES CELSIUS: REPORT

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