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Brazil plans to combat endemic dengue fever with GM mosquitoes

Tuesday, July 10th 2012 - 21:22 UTC
Full article 5 comments
Dengue caused by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti has already struck 500.000 people in Brazil Dengue caused by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti has already struck 500.000 people in Brazil

Brazil said 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, killing 74.

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 mosquito Aedes aegypti. There is no vaccine, which is why scientists are focusing so intensely on mosquito control.

The initiative in Brazil will produce large quantities of genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which will be released into nature to mate with females, the health ministry 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 north-eastern 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.

Top Comments

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  • me@ez

    Amazing is the fact, that so far, the Brits havn't been blaimt for the dengue fever in Brazil too...

    Jul 11th, 2012 - 04:05 am 0
  • mastershakejb


    Jul 11th, 2012 - 01:11 pm 0
  • Guzz

    There are similarities between some Brits and dengue fever. Both cause headaches and both are most effectively treated with a slap...

    Jul 11th, 2012 - 06:04 pm 0
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