Austral Entomology (2014) 53, 363-367

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Scott Ritchie (2014)
Rear and release: a new paradigm for dengue control
Austral Entomology 53 (4), 363-367
Abstract: Dengue continues to be the largest cause of arboviral human disease. Australia is no exception, with annual outbreaks in north Queensland. Until recently, we were restricted to measures, such as pesticide sprays and container removal, that reduce populations of the mosquito vector Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus, 1762). However, the Eliminate Dengue research program, an international collaboration led by Professor Scott O'Neill of Monash University, uses the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis to block dengue virus replication in the mosquito and reduce dengue transmission. To date, releases of adult A. aegypti infected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia have been made at seven different locations near Cairns Queensland. Wolbachia has successfully established in each release area, with some populations having persisted for three consecutive years. Success using wMel has come relatively easily, with fixation (>90% mosquitoes infected) obtained after 3 months of weekly releases of adult mosquitoes that required no concurrent vector control. We have not had success establishing wMelPop strain, due to the high fitness costs of this more virulent strain of Wolbachia to its mosquito host. New release strategies of wMel that allow us to simply place egg papers in rearing buckets in the field are also showing promise. Going forward, we hope to scale up the program so that large urban areas can be treated with a minimal number of releases and labour. Finally, what evidence is there that Wolbachia actually prevents dengue in human populations? The definitive studies will be taking place in dengue endemic countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam where sufficient transmission allows for carefully controlled trials, although dengue incidence in Wolbachia treated areas of Queensland will be watched with interest.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
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Database assignments for author(s): Scott A. Ritchie

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
control - general
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
application technology


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Aedes aegypti Australia (NT+QLD)
Wolbachia (genus - entomopathogens) Aedes aegypti Australia (NT+QLD)