The Courier-Mail

Mosquito trial leads to fall in dengue

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A GROUND-breaking method aimed at stopping the spread of dengue fever appears to have worked in the far north, with hopes it could be used to combat the virus globally.

About 300,000 mosquitoes carrying a naturally-occurring bacteria preventing them from transmitti­ng the disease were released in Townsville last October.

The aim was for them to pass on the wolbachia bacteria to the wider mosquito population.

So far just one locally acquired case of dengue fever has been confirmed in Townsville this year, while none were reported over the summer months.

“It’s looking very positive, we’re impressed with the sudden drop,” Townsville Public Health Unit director Dr Steven Donohue said. “It is not conclusive proof but it appears to have pushed dengue fever over the edge in Townsville.”

A not-for-profit collaborat­ion, the Eliminate Dengue program is undertakin­g similar studies in Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The World Health Organisati­on estimates dengue fever kills 22,000 people every year.

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