Mosquito program plans bacteria use

Monash University’s World Mosquito Program says wolbachia bacteria could stop mosquitoes from spreading dengue and other diseases like chikungunya and Zika.

The program director of impact assessment, Professor Cameron Simmons, said wolbachia was a naturally-occurring bacteria and once transmitted to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, it stopped them getting the infections and spreading them among humans.

He said the not-for-profit agency had already proven the use of wolbachia was successful in far Northern Queensland and he was confident it would eliminate the dengue threat in the Pacific.

“The experience from North Queensland is that so far, in communities where wolbachia has been established they have been dengue-free for the last six or seven years.

“And so, our expectations are very high that once established, our technology is going to provide years of protection for communities in the Western Pacific from these viral diseases.”