More than 30% of the world’s population, in over 100 countries are at risk of dengue infection
There is currently no known vaccine or cure for dengue fever
Dengue is a human virus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes
Our research has shown that Wolbachia blocks dengue transmission
Dengue fever is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the world - and the most rapidly spreading - with a 30-fold increase in global incidence over the past 50 years.
Over 2.5 billion people, more than 30% of the world’s population, in over 100 countries are at risk of infection; the most significant recent epidemics occurred in Southeast Asia, the Americas and the Western Pacific. Each year an estimated 390 million dengue infections occur around the world. Of these, 500,000 develop into dengue haemorrhagic fever, a more severe form of the disease, and dengue results in up to 25,000 deaths annually worldwide.
A human virus
Dengue is a human virus transmitted primarily by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is commonly found around homes and workplaces. The transmission cycle for dengue is human - mosquito - human.
After a mosquito bites a dengue-infected person it then takes about 12 days for the mosquito to be capable of transmitting the virus to another person. During this time the virus replicates inside the mosquito’s body, spreading until it reaches the mosquito’s salivary glands. The virus is then injected through the saliva into a human when the mosquito takes a blood meal (bites).
Our research has shown that when Wolbachia is introduced into the mosquito, the dengue virus multiplies much less inside the mosquito – meaning it has a reduced ability to transmit dengue between people.
Dengue viruses can be grouped into four serotypes, all of which can cause disease in people. Prior infection with one dengue serotype is believed to make people more likely to develop dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) in later infections with any of the other serotypes.