Cheap tubs of water with mosquitos eggs could stop Dengue fever for $1 per person

Australian city of Townsville had 7000 families had mosquito growing kits. The kits cost $13 per person. The kits are tubs with Aedes aegypti mosquito eggs and were placed in their yards. The tubs had stocked with fish food to nourish the mosquitos. This resulted in the released of 4 million mosquitoes that had the Wolbachia bacterium. The bacteria reduces their ability to transmit dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses, and which can spread quickly through the population as these mosquitoes mate with wild ones.

They hope to bring the cost of kits down to $1 per person.

The program covered 66 square kilometers.

The city of 176,000 has been dengue-free since 2014. Normally there are Dengue fever outbreaks every ten years.

The program is in 11 countries and will put Wolbachia mosquitoes in larger and poorer parts around the world with a target of reducing the cost to just US$1 per person.

The next step for the team is in Yogyakarta in Indonesia, a city of nearly 390,000.

15 thoughts on “Cheap tubs of water with mosquitos eggs could stop Dengue fever for $1 per person”

  1. Mosquitoes that bite humans comprise only 3% of all species of mosquitoes. Studies have been done and no animal has been shown to be overly dependent on these particular species. With CRISPR and other tools it is time to do to them what we did to smallpox.

  2. No, the sterilized male approach works like this.
    You have 1 billion wild mosquitoes in an area. Let’s say 500 million male and 500 million female.
    You release 500 million sterile males. Then 500/1000 = 50% of the males are sterile. They mate with the females and now only 50% of the females breed.
    Next generation there are only 500 million wild mosquitoes. 250 million male and 250 million female.
    You release 500 million sterile males. Now 500/750 = 75% of the males are sterile. They mate with the females and now only 25% of the females breed.
    Third generation there are only 125 million wild mosquitoes. 62 million male and 62 million female.
    You release 500 million sterile males. Now 500/562 = 89% of the males are sterile. They mate with the females and now only 11% of the females breed.

    You can see that as the program progresses the system becomes MORE effective at overwhelming the few remaining fertile mosquitoes. The only risks is if female mosquitoes either become promiscuous or they start to be able to distinguish fertile and infertile males.

  3. Aedes Aegyptii, the mosquito species in question (you can tell from the white stripes on the rear legs) is, as the name suggests, Egyptian in origin.
    In Australia it is an introduced pest and should be all killed with fire.

  4. ” How many human lives are worth one insect species?”

    Aye, there’s the rub. Those who see humans as nothing more than animals, which includes a large segment of the progressives, answer this question differently than those who don’t.

  5. I totally do not understand the level of concern about one danm insect species. There a so many closely related mosquito species that would fill the niche just fine. If we were that concerned about the “unexpected consequences” then we would have to stop fishing building roads, logging, and everything else that clearly impacts the ecology. Why single out one insect out of millions when we can clearly see the harm being done to humans? How many human lives are worth one insect species?

  6. Ok this idea has already been fleshed out:

    I can’t post the link due to the comments system thinking it is spam.

    “lternative uses of Wolbachia

    Wolbachia bacteria can be used in several ways, including to suppress mosquito populations. Other research may involve the release of only male mosquitoes with Wolbachia. When these mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes without Wolbachia, they are unable to reproduce.

    This technique requires the release of a large number of male mosquitoes to reduce the overall mosquito population. As with insecticides, this technique would need to be reapplied over time as the population of mosquitoes gradually returns.

    In contrast, the World Mosquito Program’s Wolbachia method is unique because it is self-sustaining and does not need to be continually reapplied, making it an affordable, self-sustaining, long-term solution. Our method reduces the ability of mosquitoes to transmit dengue, Zika and chikungunya on to people, without suppressing mosquito populations and potentially affecting ecosystems.”

    If you could develop a small tank with a mosquito net on top and a one way valve system so that only sterile male mosquitos infected with Wolbachia bred in the tank could get out (and wild type female mosquitos could not get in to lay their eggs). Then you could just distribute these tanks to people around the city and periodically ask people to feed and water them.

  7. I’m also wondering if they can release lots of Wolbachia infected mosquitos to establish Wolbachia in the population, then release a whole lot of sterilized males to crash the population. And if the Wolbachia infection rates go down over time them rinse and repeat.

    You could probably bring IT and mobile phones into play in poor countries. Send out a message periodically asking people to breed either Wolbachia infected males and females, or just sterilized males, enter a scratch code off the back of the packet of freeze dried eggs and get $1 phone credit or something.

  8. IMO, it is much better to just reduce disease transmission rate. Best not to adversely affect other parts of the ecosystem by removing an entire species(global heating is already doing a good job of that).

  9. I believe you can add malaria to the list of mosquito spread diseases inhibited by Wolbachia infection.

    Note that there have been competing schemes that try to reduce the number of Aedes mossies by releasing sterilized males. These two plans would act against each other.

  10. Sterilized males… wouldn’t bring down the amount of mosquitos in a certain area.. b/c there will always be non-sterilize mosquitos around.. more faith on the bacteria..

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