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Wolbachia fact sheet

Wolbachia is a natural bacterium present in up to 60% of all the different species of insects around us, including some mosquitoes.

However, it is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting harmful human viruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika.

Our research has shown that when introduced into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Wolbachia will reduce the ability of insects to become infected with viruses. This important discovery has the potential to transform the fight against life-threatening viral diseases.

Wolbachia is safe for humans, animals and the environment. Two independent risk assessments have been conducted, both of which gave an overall risk rating of ‘negligible’ (the lowest possible rating) for the release of mosquitoes with Wolbachia.

Wolbachia bacteria can be used in a number of ways, including to suppress mosquito populations. However, the Eliminate Dengue Program’s Wolbachia method is unique because it reduces the ability of mosquitoes to become infected with viruses that can then be passed on to people. This effect is self-sustaining in the mosquito population and does not need to be continually reapplied, making it an affordable, long-term intervention.

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