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Scientists Claim Dengue Fever Breakthrough


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Scientists claim dengue fever breakthrough

r326950_1467277.jpg There have been more than 50 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne virus in Cairns since last November. (ABC TV News - file image)

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Queensland scientists believe they have discovered a safe and inexpensive way to control the spread of dengue fever.

Dengue fever kills around 20,000 people worldwide each year and there have been more than 50 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne virus in Cairns in far north Queensland since last November.

Researchers at the University of Queensland have successfully injected bacteria into mosquito embryos so the insect dies before it is old enough to transmit the virus to humans.

Professor Scott O'Neill has told ABC Radio's AM program his research team has successfully infected the dengue mosquito with bacteria that halves its lifespan.

"Strange thing in mosquitos is that only the very old female mosquitos are able to transmit the disease to humans," he said.

"So what we're doing is introducing bacteria that shorten the lifespan of the mosquito so they live, but not long enough to transmit disease to humans."

Professor O'Neill says a virus control program is vital as climate change could place more people at risk.

"Future climate change may have an impact on dengue, probably not due to temperature but more likely through impacts that it might have on rainfall," he said.

"As rainfall drops, more people tend to store water more around their houses and it's those containers where the mosquitoes [are] that transmits dengue [that mosquitoes] really like to live and breed."

Professor O'Neill says if field tests in far north Queensland are successful, a pilot program could be running by 2012.

"We think it will be a very inexpensive implementation," he said.

"We would just need to release into a given area a small number of mosquitos carrying this bacteria and then it would spread into the mosquito population naturally and then shorten the lifespan of all the individuals within that population."

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/01...?section=justin

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Great news!

Is there any reason not to eradicate mosquitoes?

At their best, a nuisance. At their worst, carriers of deadly disease.

it's not like they are pollinators.

Want to be a little careful before calling for the eradification of an entire species. Might start an unforeseen chain reaction.

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Great news!

Is there any reason not to eradicate mosquitoes?

At their best, a nuisance. At their worst, carriers of deadly disease.

it's not like they are pollinators.

Want to be a little careful before calling for the eradification of an entire species. Might start an unforeseen chain reaction.

well said. everything is connected in nature and just because we don't know or understand the connection is not a green light for action. Mozzies are a pain, but they serve a purpose in the natural order.

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We Ozzies are smart :D

well, except for that little rabbit virus issue :o

But good news and a good way to eliminate disease without having to spray DDT. Too bad they can't come up with something similar for Malaria, which kills far more people.

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And more interesting that they didn't care about doing any real research into Dengue until it was knocking on their door, so to speak, what with climate change. Want to see a way to stop malaria? Let the mosquitos in the southern US start carrying it...and I believe they have evidence that they may be...

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We Ozzies are smart :o

yeah not bad and then to think that it started out with a bunch of british convicts,and look now at Australie after you got rid of the pommies you really made something out of it.

Great news.

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Well, I did ask if there was any reason not to eradicate them... :o

It's not like I'm unaware of the natural world but....

If we have a complete list of the diseases they inflict on both humans and other animals, I still think there is a good case to be made for a death sentence for the entire species...

Hmm.. why do I feel like an honorary member of the "death for every drug dealer" squad here on TV?

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We Ozzies are smart :D

well, except for that little rabbit virus issue :o

But good news and a good way to eliminate disease without having to spray DDT. Too bad they can't come up with something similar for Malaria, which kills far more people.

Right, and that little cane toad issue. Playing God has to be done carefully!

(In fairness, the cane toad fiasco happened a looooooong time ago.)

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We Ozzies are smart :o

yeah not bad and then to think that it started out with a bunch of british convicts,and look now at Australie after you got rid of the pommies you really made something out of it.

Great news.

First it did not started with a bunch of convicts from pommie land, the aboriginies came

40.000 years ago ( I am not one of them )

Secondly the Dutch came to Australia long time before the convicts did ( read the history )

Third I am not a pommy basher most of my friends are from the UK

And the last, give the aussies some credit the country is just over 200 years old and has achieved

more then some other countries who have a much longer history ( like Thailand )

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We Ozzies are smart :o

yeah not bad and then to think that it started out with a bunch of british convicts,and look now at Australie after you got rid of the pommies you really made something out of it.

Great news.

First it did not started with a bunch of convicts from pommie land, the aboriginies came

40.000 years ago ( I am not one of them )

Secondly the Dutch came to Australia long time before the convicts did ( read the history )

Third I am not a pommy basher most of my friends are from the UK

And the last, give the aussies some credit the country is just over 200 years old and has achieved

more then some other countries who have a much longer history ( like Thailand )

Interesting point actually, comparing the development of Thailand to Australia. People are people, so does it come down to the system of government, say for the last 100 years, democracy vs feudalism?

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If you have spent time in northern Canada in its summer, you know that about 700 trillion birds live off of mosquitoes. Kill off their main supply, and you lose maybe 667 million birds. Not sure of exact numbers, of course. Maybe Asian migratory birds feed off of mosquitoes as well.

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Great news!

Is there any reason not to eradicate mosquitoes?

At their best, a nuisance. At their worst, carriers of deadly disease.

it's not like they are pollinators.

Want to be a little careful before calling for the eradification of an entire species. Might start an unforeseen chain reaction.

well said. everything is connected in nature and just because we don't know or understand the connection is not a green light for action. Mozzies are a pain, but they serve a purpose in the natural order.

Agree. The virus itself may serve some purpose in the grand scheme of things.

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We Ozzies are smart :o

yeah not bad and then to think that it started out with a bunch of british convicts,and look now at Australie after you got rid of the pommies you really made something out of it.

Great news.

Yes we should all write to Bill Gates and ask him if he will fund the research or just pass the hat around. :D

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Reading the report it says they’re only reducing the life span of the mossies, not killing them off. It’s only the very old females that carry the virus.

It is also only the females that suck your blood (Mossies that is)

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The headline is misslaeding - they found a bacteria which can reduce the lifespan of a mosquito, as it maybe that only the older generatiosn carry the virus... and are able to pass it on...

No real breakthrough - so hold your breath!

And heaven knowswhat this bacteria may cause when released in large amounts into nature, how they wanna control it if it goes out a hand?

Just a thought...

Much, much better research for vaccine against dengue!

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