Indonesia fights dengue with more mosquitoes

Researchers in Indonesia are fighting mosquito-borne diseases - with more mosquitos, but these are carrying a secret weapon.

A joint study has been releasing lab-bred mosquitos in the city of Yogyakarta targeting 'red zones' for dengue fever.

But these bugs carry Wolbachia, a common bacteria found in over half of insect species that prevents viruses like dengue from growing inside them.

It’s not, however, found in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which often carry dengue, according to the nonprofit World Mosquito Program.

Purwanti is a researcher with the group.

"In principle we are breeding the 'good' mosquitoes. The mosquitoes carrying dengue will mate with mosquitoes carrying the Wolbachia bacteria and we hope to produce Wolbachia mosquitoes, or the 'good' ones.”

WMP trial results showed this method reduced dengue cases by nearly 80 percent and hospitalizations by nearly 90 percent.

Sri Purwaningsih is a local in Yogyakarta and research volunteer.

"All three of my children have been infected with dengue and hospitalized. It’s always on my mind, thinking about how to keep my village healthy.”

Global dengue infections have risen rapidly in recent decades, according to the World Health Organization.

About half of the world’s population is now at risk, with an estimated 100-400 million infections reported every year.

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