'Miraculous' mosquito hack cuts dengue by 77%
Dengue fever cases have been cut by 77% in a "Groundbreaking" trial that manipulates the mosquitoes that spread it, say scientists. Dengue is commonly known as "Break-bone fever" because it causes severe pain in muscles and bones and explosive outbreaks can overwhelm hospitals. Wolbachia doesn't harm the mosquito, but it camps out in the same parts of its body that the dengue virus needs to get into. The bacteria compete for resources and make it much harder for dengue virus to replicate, so the mosquito is less likely to cause an infection when it bites again. "It's very exciting, it's better than we could have hoped for to be honest," Dr Anders told the BBC. The technique has been so successful the mosquitoes have been released across the whole city and the project is moving to surrounding areas with the aim of eradicating dengue in the region. The trial is a significant landmark after years of research as the species of mosquito that spreads dengue - Aedes aegypti - is not normally infected with Wolbachia. Disease modelling studies have also predicted Wolbachia could be enough to completely suppress dengue fever if it can be established.