Bacteria Kills Mosquito

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The bacterial parasite called Wolbachia has been found to shorten mosquitoes' lives and make them unproductive. This offers a potentially new way to help reduce disease transmission by mosquitoes around the world. Conor McMeniman and colleagues from the Pennsylvania State University, USA, introduced the parasitic species to mosquito populations of Aedes aegypti which transmits the dengue and chikungunya viruses. They found that the parasite reduced the hosts' life span by half. Since the dengue virus requires a couple of weeks to incubate in the mosquito's body before it is infectious, the researchers suggested that cutting the mosquitoes' lives short will effectively slow the transmission of dengue and other similarly deadly viruses.


Down To Earth, January 2009