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Date posted: 16 June 2014
Researchers from Monash University are proposing to introduce Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to the community of Townsville, Queensland, in a bid to eliminate dengue fever.
The bacteria Wolbachia makes the insects resistant to dengue fever, and small-scale trials in Cairns have shown Wolbachia prevents mosquitoes from transmitting dengue, and will eventually overrun the existing dengue-carrying population.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the incidence of dengue had grown dramatically around the world in recent decades. Scientists estimate there are 390 million cases around the world every year. Monash University Professor Scott O'Neill says he hopes the research will eventually lead to the elimination of dengue. 'When you think how big the disease is, how big a problem it is, it's quite an ambitious goal,' he said.
Depending on support from the community, mosquitoes could be introduced as soon as October.