Many tropical countries like Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and some Pacific Islands with high burden of dengue infection are using an innovative yet natural approach to combat dengue and other vector borne diseases by using Wolbachia, a natural bacteria. Wolbachia are safe, natural bacteria present in up to 60% of insect species, including some mosquitoes. However, this bacteria is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting viruses such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
According to a research by The World Mosquitoe Program “When introduced into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Wolbachia can help to reduce the transmission of these viruses to people.” The Wolbachia bacteria boosts the immune system of the mosquito, which makes it harder for the mosquito to support the Zika, dengue, chikungunya or yellow fever infection. This prevents the mosquito from getting infected which further prevents humans from getting infected.
How does this work?
According to The World Mosquito Program
“Once Wolbachia bacteria is introduced to the Aedes aegypti in the lab, Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes are released, they breed with wild mosquitoes. Over time, the majority of mosquitoes carry Wolbachia. These mosquitoes have a reduced ability to transmit viruses to people, decreasing the risk of Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever outbreaks.”