‘Make your weakness your strength and you are invincible,’ they say. It is also the plot of many blockbuster movies and series. Many people around you, including you, may also have done that probably. But, who imagined that this philosophy could be extended to the world of mosquitoes?
This is what scientists in Indonesia have achieved. As per the World Health Organization’s (WHO) data, every year around 400 million people get affected by dengue every year. Most of the burden is born by Asians.
According to WHO, the cases of dengue have grown eight times over the last 2 decades (although the increase in cases is also attributed to better technology to diagnose and map diseases). About half the world’s population is now at risk of contracting this fatal disease. In 2019, all the WHO countries had dengue cases, which is a cause of concern.
Cause And Treatment Of Dengue
Dengue is caused by female mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti. They are also responsible for the spread of Chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika. These mosquitoes breed in accumulated water, and hence to prevent the disease, the best measure you can take is to never let water collect near/in your house.
Its symptoms include fever, fatigue, joint pain, and rashes. There is no dedicated cure for it, but to ease the fever and pain, patients are advised to take painkillers like Paracetamol.
Mosquitoes Can Help Combat Dengue Now
Researchers in Indonesia have successfully bred mosquitoes in the lab that can help combat dengue. The lab-bred mosquitoes contain Wolbachia bacteria. It is a bacteria commonly found in many mosquitoes, moths, and flies.
Aedes aegypti species, however, does not contain it as found by the research conducted by World Mosquito Program (WMP). So, researchers infused this bacteria in male mosquitoes of the species.
Now, they mate with female mosquitoes (that carry dengue). The eggs laid after mating are never hatched. This decreases the population of bad mosquitoes carrying dengue.
Even if mosquitoes infused with Wolbachia bite humans, the latter are not affected. This has shown to be a promising technology to fight dengue. When these mosquitoes were released in the ‘red zones’ (areas most affected by infection) in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, dengue infections went down by 77% and hospitalizations by 86%.
This technology can be extended to other disease-causing mosquitoes as well.
So the solution was found in the problem itself. The disease-bearing species will now be disease-preventing. If this is not a victory of science, then what is?
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This post is tagged under: mosquitoes, dengue, Aedes aegypti, zika virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, fever, fatigue, blood platelets, symptoms of dengue, causes of dengue, carrier of dengue, treatment for dengue, weakness becomes strength, indonesia scientists, Wolbachia bacteria, epidemic, good mosquitoes