Friday, January 16, 2009

Shortening the Mosquito's Lifespan to Prevent Disease

Scientists have found a way to shorten the lifespan of virus-carrying mosquitoes, reducing the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Injecting the mosquito with a strain of Wolbachia bacteria kills it before it has matured enough to pass a virus to humans. Theoretically, the bacteria would only need to be applied once and it would spread throughout the mosquito populations, unlike insecticides which need to be reapplied regularly. The science behind this is expected to take about 3-5 years to study before it can be put into practice.