World First Dengue Trial To Wipe Out Dengue Fever

Researchers at Cairns in far north Queensland are introducing a biological assault on dengue fever with the release of thousands of specially-bred mosquitoes.

The world-first field trial is being staged in Cairns and aims to wash out dengue fever.

Thousands of mosquitos bred in a laboratory have been contaminated with the wolbachia bacteria and will be released at Yorkeys Knob today, and later this month at Gordonvale, south of Cairns.

The naturally-occurring bacteria are thought to stop mosquitoes from transmitting dengue fever as well as reducing its life span.

Scientists are hoping the infected mosquitoes will breed with the normal mosquito population.

Researchers from the Eliminate Dengue project, led by the University of Queensland and James Cook University, say the bacteria is safe. There is no vaccine for dengue.

Professor Scott O'Neill from the University of Queensland says community support has been very important to the project.

"We've actually been controlling all the mosquitoes for the last two months with the thought of knocking down the mosquito population," he said.

"So when we release our mosquitoes, the total population doesn't boost.

"I think people in north Queensland are sick and tired of dengue and are looking for substitute ways to try and control it."
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