The experiment used mosquitoes infected with a bacterium called “Wolbachia,” a “natural miracle” that reduces its ability to spread the dengue virus.
In the experiment, which published the findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, 5 million mosquito eggs were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria.
It took 9 months for the researchers to build an infected mosquito population, which the researchers deposited in buckets of water every 2 weeks in the city.
As a result of the experiment, it was determined that mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria were released in only half of the city divided into 24 districts, resulting in a 77 percent decrease in dengue fever cases and an 86 percent decrease in infection-related hospitalizations.
From the research team, Dr. Katie Anders, while describing the results as groundbreaking, stated that they achieved greater success than they expected thanks to the bacteria, which she described as a “natural miracle”.
The World Mosquito Program team stated that according to the results obtained, the study could provide an opportunity to eradicate dengue fever.
Researchers stated that the bacterium “Wolbachia” blocks the sources that make it possible for the virus that causes dengue fever to live in mosquitoes, and underlined that the bacterium does not cause any harm to mosquitoes.
Dengue Fever infects 400 million people each year
Dengue virus is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. The disease, which generally causes mild fever after the incubation period, can be fatal in some cases. Cases increase during the months of June-September and December-March, which are generally known as the rainy seasons.
Scientists say that high temperatures and prolonged rainfall are causing an increase in mosquitoes that carry malaria and dengue fever. Since the mosquito species that transmits the disease creates larvae in the puddles, especially in industrial environments, garbage puddles need to be sprayed constantly.
The epidemic, which infects approximately 400 million people every year and can cause death, is also referred to as “broken bone fever” because it has symptoms similar to broken bone pain.