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Mosquitoes released to help curb dengue

Update: April, 05/2013 - 10:53

HCM CITY(VNS)— Scientists on Wednesday released Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes into the environment on Tri Nguyen Island in central Khanh Hoa Province in an attempt to reduce the transmission of dengue-fever viruses.

Wolbachia is a bacterium that occurs naturally in up to 70 per cent of all insect species, but not in the dengue-carrying mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Scientists have transferred Wolbachia from the fruit fly into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, where it can affect the mosquito's ability to transmit dengue viruses.

Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes were released into 840 households on the island. Twenty mosquitoes will be released per household every week for the next three months.

Dr. Tran Nhu Duong, deputy head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, was quoted as saying in the Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper that Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes would breed with wild mosquitoes in the area.

If the Wolbachia can become established in the wild Aedes aegypti population on the island after 13 weeks, the transmission of dengue viruses between humans is expected to fall substantially.

Under the Eliminate Dengue Project, which began laboratory research in 2006, Tri Nguyen Island was chosen as the pilot release site in Viet Nam.

Dengue-fever control methods typically focus on community education campaigns and insecticide spraying in affected areas. —VNS

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