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Infecting mosquitoes with bacterium Wolbachia cuts dengue spread

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Infecting mosquitoes with bacterium Wolbachia cuts dengue spread:


A recent study suggests that the “Wolbachia method” could be used to significantly reduce the incidence of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, in populations where the illness is endemic.

Where was this method tested?

Scientists from the World Mosquito Program (WMP) of Monash University in Australia and Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia tested this method in a 27-month trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

  • They found that using the Wolbachia method reduced the occurrence of dengue in the treated population by 77%.

How it works?

This method involves introducing Wolbachia, a type of bacteria, into populations of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species responsible for spreading dengue.

  • 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.



Dengue is a viral disease that is endemic in many countries, including India.

Although it usually results in mild illness, severe dengue infections can sometimes prove fatal.

  • World Health Organization (WHO) estimates suggest an annual incidence of 100-400 million dengue infections every year, with its global incidence growing dramatically “in recent decades”.


Prelims Link:

  1. Dengue- causes, symptoms and spread.
  2. The “Wolbachia method” is related to?
  3. Where was this method tested recently?
  4. About the World Mosquito Program (WMP).

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Sources: Indian Express.