A team of researchers from Australia and China reports that infecting mosquitoes with a bacterium that halves their lifespan might be a useful strategy against dengue virus (McMeniman CJ et al. Science. 2009;323:141-144).
The researchers adapted Wolbachia, a bacterial parasite found in a wide range of arthropods, to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit dengue. Infected mosquitoes lived only 21 days compared with 50 days for uninfected mosquitoes. Because it takes about 2 weeks for a mosquito newly infected with dengue virus to become able to transmit the infection, a substantial reduction in mosquito lifespan should translate a reduced dengue threat to humans.
Stephenson J. Cutting Dengue Risk? JAMA. 2009;301(7):712. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.170
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