Vietnamese province fights dengue fever with bacteria-infected mosquitoes

By Xuan Ngoc   January 6, 2017 | 11:27 am GMT+7
Vietnamese province fights dengue fever with bacteria-infected mosquitoes
Mosquito larvae carrying virus resistant bacteria are dropped into a well in an island near Nha Trang. Photo by VnExpress

Khanh Hoa, home of the famous beach town, reported three fatal cases among more than 4,600 dengue fever infections last year.

Mosquitoes infected with bacteria will be released in the central resort town of Nha Trang this year in a new public health initiative to fight dengue fever.

In 2006, Khanh Hoa Province started a research project aiming to infect local mosquitoes with Wolbachia, a bacteria genus that has been linked to viral resistance in mosquito species.

In the trial phase that began in 2013, the bacteria-laden mosquito larvae were released on Tri Nguyen Island, around two kilometers from Nha Trang. No dengue fever cases have been reported on the island since.

Over the next few months, the province will expand the project to its tourist town Nha Trang.

Khanh Hoa reported three fatal cases among more than 4,600 dengue fever infections last year, including nearly 2,000 in Nha Trang.

Similar projects have gained positive results in China and Brazil. Vietnamese scientists believe that these mosquitoes are also able to block the Zika virus and prevent it from being transmitted to humans

Vietnam has taken different efforts to find an effective protective measure against dengue fever, the world’s fastest growing tropical disease, which is the biggest killer out of 28 common infectious diseases in the country.

Traditional measures include killing mosquito larvae with chemical solutions and sprays.

In 2011, the country signed up to join Sanofi’s clinical trial program for a dengue fever vaccine. The company in late 2015 said its vaccine has shown high effects on children above nine years old.

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