Modifying Mosquito Population Age Structure to Eliminate Dengue Transmission
Scientists have long known that only relatively old mosquitoes can transmit the agents that cause certain diseases, including dengue fever and malaria. Dr. O’Neill and his multinational team are working on a plan to shorten the lifespan of mosquitoes that transmit the dengue virus, which infects up to 100 million people each year. They are introducing into populations of Aedes mosquitoes, strains of a naturally occurring bacterial symbiont, Wolbachia, that kill infected insects before they are old enough to transmit disease. Wolbachia are inherited though the eggs of the mosquitoes and so are passed on from generation to generation.