Across Several Continents, Infecting Mosquitoes with Bacteria Results in Dramatic Drops in Dengue Illness, Trials Show

November 21, 2019

(STAT News) – The number of people infected by dengue and at least one related virus has plunged in places where mosquitoes bred to be infected with a bacterium called Wolbachia have been released and have established themselves, scientists reported Thursday. The results, from Australia, Indonesia, and Brazil, are dramatic, with a 76% drop in dengue infections in the part of Indonesia where the mosquitoes were released. In Brazil, treated neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro saw rates of dengue infections fall by 70%. Infections with chikungunya, which is spread by the same mosquitoes, were 75% lower there — in a year when the disease was at epidemic levels elsewhere in the area.