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Scientists to Breed Modified Mosquitoes to Stop Spread of Dengue Fever

Update Date: Jul 10, 2012 09:50 AM EDT
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Dengue fever, an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus affects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and sub tropics each year, causing fever, muscle and joint ache as well as potentially fatal dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.

Dengue is caused by four strains of virus that are spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Since there is no vaccine for the disease, the researchers are concentrating very intensely on mosquito control.

In their latest fight against the disease, scientists are going to breed genetically modified mosquitoes in Brazil in order to help stop the spread of dengue fever, reported Telegraph.

The researchers will basically release large quantities of genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in to the nature and allow them to mate with the females, according to the health ministry.

"Their offspring will not reach adulthood, which should reduce the population," it said in a statement.

On Saturday, in the Bahia state of Brazil, the factory where the mosquitoes will be produced, was inaugurated. Four million insects will be produced every week, said the report.

The experiment has already been attempted and found to be very helpful in reducing the number of mosquitoes in two towns in Bahia, each with about 3,000 inhabitants.

"Using this technique, we reduced the mosquito population by 90 per cent in six months," the ministry said.

Although there are no FDA-licensed vaccines to prevent dengue and no medicines specifically approved to treat the disease, timely medical care help reduce the possibility of death.

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