A team of scientists managed to significantly reduce dengue cases in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, after entering mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria to contain this disease that causes more than 50 million infections annually in the world.
The results of the three-year study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and they showed a decline of 77% of dengue cases and 86% in hospitalizations related to this disease in Yogyakarta, located on the island of Java.
“It is the result we have been waiting for a long time. We have proof that the Wolbachia method is reliable “said Scott O’Neill, director of the Global Mosquito Program at Monash University in Australia, who led the study.
La bacteria Wolbachia
The bacteria Wolbachia, what found in fruit flies and other insects, prevents the spread of the virus in mosquitoes that carry dengue, Aedes aegypti, and infection in humans when they bite.
Other research has also shown that this method It is effective in preventing other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes such as Zika, Chikungunya or yellow fever.
The study in Indonesia
Because of this, in this new study the bacteria were introduced to a mosquito population in some areas of Yogyakarta to measure how it affected infections in humans between the ages of 3 and 45. The test was then expanded to the entire city and neighboring regions, covering a population of 2.5 million people.
The battle against dengue
The scientific community hopes that this method will become a key weapon in the battle against dengue, a disease that causes muscle aches, fever and nausea and, in the most severe cases, bleeding and even death.
Dengue is also the fastest spreading mosquito-borne disease, causing more than 50 million cases per year, 8 of them in Indonesia.