A new approach to tackling the spread of dengue fever has proven to be very effective in Indonesia. By infecting insects with a specific bacterium, researchers have been successful in reducing the number of infections and hospital admissions.
Dengue fever is a viral syndrome transmitted by mosquitoes Ides Egypt And Aedes albopictus (Also known as the Tiger Mosquito), and occurs in one of four dengue virus serotypes (DEN1 to DEN4). The disease, which is considered by the World Health Organization to be one of the top ten threats to global health in 2019, affects 50 to 100 million people worldwide each year. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, but its complications are severe.
To address dengue fever, many countries have focused their efforts on pesticides or environmental management methods aimed at controlling vector mosquito populations. However, as the team of researchers points out The New England Journal of Medicine, These policies are not effective.
Recent work focuses on Adi Utari, an Indonesian public health researcher and dengue control expert. Wolbachia ppientis. It is an intracellular bacterium that infects many species of insects, but not the A. Egyptian mosquito. However, this bacterium is known to inhibit viral replication, making it more difficult for infected insects to spread the disease.
With her team, the researcher developed a program aimed at deliberately infecting millions of mosquitoes before releasing them.More than half of all cases of dengue fever are found in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. Objective: The bacterium Wolbachia pypianthis, which allows its host to be inherited by the next generation, spreads rapidly in the mosquito population.
And the results are amazing! These tasks, carried out Over a period of nine months in 2017, it was actually launched There was a 77% reduction in registered dengue cases and an 86% reduction in hospital admissions.
After the trial was successful, mosquitoes have since been released across the city, soon to be released in more surrounding areas.
“It simply came to our notice then. More than 7 million cases of dengue fever occur in Indonesia each year. The success of the trial will allow Yogyakarta to expand our work throughout the city and into neighboring urban areas. We believe that Indonesian cities have a future where people can live without dengue. ”Adi Uthari said in a statement.
Cameron Simmons, co-author of the study, suggests that the use of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes could also be used to treat other diseases, such as Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya.