Brazil to breed GM mosquitoes to combat dengue

Brazil said Monday it will breed huge numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes to help stop the spread of dengue fever, an illness that has already struck nearly 500,000 people this year nationwide.

Dengue affects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, causing fever, muscle and joint ache as well as potentially fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.

The disease is caused by four strains of virus that are spread by the aegypti. There is no vaccine, which is why scientists are focusing so intensely on .

The initiative in Brazil will produce large quantities of genetically modified male mosquitoes, which will be released into nature to mate with females, the said.

"Their offspring will not reach adulthood, which should reduce the population," it said in a statement.

The new mosquitoes will be produced in a factory inaugurated on Saturday in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Four million insects will be churned out per week.

The experiment has already been attempted in two mosquito-infested towns in Bahia, each with about 3,000 inhabitants.

"Using this technique, we reduced the mosquito population by 90 percent in six months," the ministry said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Specialized mosquitoes may fight tropical disease

Aug 24, 2011

Scientists have made a promising advance for controlling dengue fever, a tropical disease spread by mosquito bites. They've rapidly replaced mosquitoes in the wild with skeeters that don't spread the dengue ...

Scientists find bacterium can halt dengue virus transmission

Apr 01, 2010

Dengue fever -- caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes -- threatens 2.5 billion people each year and there is no vaccine or treatment. New research by Michigan State University entomologists has found that a bacterium ...

Novel control of Dengue fever

Aug 24, 2011

The spread of Dengue fever in northern Australia may be controlled by a bacterium that infects mosquitoes that harbor the virus, Australian and U.S. researchers report Aug. 25 in two papers published in the journal Nature.

Recommended for you

Obama to announce major Ebola effort

1 hour ago

US President Barack Obama will Tuesday seek to "turn the tide" in the Ebola epidemic by ordering 3,000 US military personnel to West Africa and launching a major health care training and hygiene program.

Sierra Leone: WHO too slow to help doc with Ebola

11 hours ago

Sierra Leone accused the World Health Organization on Monday of being "sluggish" in facilitating an evacuation of a doctor who died from Ebola before she could be sent out of the country for medical care.

Dutch doctors feared to have Ebola leave hospital

11 hours ago

Two Dutch doctors flown home from west Africa after fears they might have been contaminated with the killer Ebola virus have left hospital "in good health," their employer, the Lion Heart Medical Centre, said Monday.

Strategic self-sabotage? MRSA inhibits its own growth

16 hours ago

Scientists at the University of Western Ontario have uncovered a bacterial mystery. Against all logic, the most predominant strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in North American produces an enzyme ...

User comments