Infecting mosquitoes with bacterium Wolbachia cuts dengue spread

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News: A study has suggested that the “Wolbachia method” could be used to significantly reduce the spread of dengue.

Facts:

  • Wolbachia: They are safe, natural bacteria present in up to 60% of insect species including some mosquitoes.They are safe for humans, animals and the environment.
  • However, it is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito (responsible for transmitting viruses such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya).
  • How does it work? The method involves introducing Wolbachia into populations of Aedes aegypti.When the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes breed with their wild counterparts, the percentage of mosquitoes carrying the bacterium grows.
    • It is not fully understood why the Wolbachia bacterium interferes with the transmission of dengue.One theory is that the bacterium prevents dengue viruses from replicating in mosquito cells.

Additional Facts:

  • Dengue: It is a mosquito-borne viral disease widely spread in tropical and subtropical regions.The disease is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.