Monday, August 12, 2013

Progress To Date On Eliminate Dengue Project

The Eliminate Dengue Project (EDP) is a worldwide effort to introduce bacteria-carrying mosquitoes into areas plagued by outbreaks of mosquitoes that cause Dengue fever. The basic idea is that the bacteria Wolbachia, a natural symbiont of insects, make mosquitoes incompetent to harbor or transmit dengue virus to humans. Several ongoing trails in Australia have just released new results, and I collated them together in the map below. The EDP goal is to achieve 100% replacement of resident, uninfected mosquitoes with ones that are Wolbachia-infected.

EDP is a stunning example of how insects and their bacterial symbionts can be used  to potentially reduce the incidence of Dengue fever cases. I say potentially because while the mosquito/Wolbachia combinations are being released with success, i.e., every release site in Austrailia has between 50-90% infection frequency of Wolbachia, data on whether this effort reduces Dengue transmission will have to be collected over several years in order to make any inferences on the impact to human health. My graduate student Daniel LePage (@lepage_d on Twitter) recently published a review (Wolbachia: can we save lives with a great pandemic?) on this effort and others.

1 comment:

  1. Dengue infection is a leading cause of death and sickness in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Dengue is caused by one of four viruses that are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more serious form of dengue infection.