Good mozzies to fight dengue

BRAZILIAN researchers in Rio de Janeiro have released thousands of mosquitoes infected with a bacteria that suppresses dengue fever.

The hope is they will multiply, breed and become the majority of mosquitoes, thus reducing cases of the disease.

The initiative is part of a program also taking place in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The intercellular bacteria, Wolbachia, being introduced cannot be transmitted to humans.

The program started in 2012 says Luciano Moreira of the Brazilian research institute Fiocruz, who is leading the project in Brazil .

“Our teams performed weekly visits to the four neighbourhoods in Rio being targeted. Mosquitoes were analysed after collection in special traps.

“Transparency and proper information for the households is priority. “

Ten thousands mosquitoes will be released each month for four months with the first release in Tubiacanga, in the north of Rio.

The bacteria Wolbachia is found in 60 per cent of insects. It acts like a vaccine for the mosquito which carries dengue, aedes aegypti, stopping the dengue virus multiplying in its body.

Wolbachia also has an effect on reproduction. If a contaminated male fertilises the eggs of a female without the bacteria, these eggs do not turn into larvae.