Vietnam to use bacteria-infected mosquitoes to prevent Zika

By Hien Luong, Thanh Nien News

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Vietnam to use bacteria-infected mosquitoes to prevent Zika

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Nha Trang leaders on Friday said they support a plan to release mosquitoes infected with a strain of bacteria in the resort beach town next year to control dengue and Zika.
The plan was introduced by a Health Ministry working group at a meeting with local leaders, following a successful pilot project carried out in Nha Trang between 2013 and 2015.
Health officials said the infected mosquitoes would be released in four wards of Nha Trang.
The method takes advantage of the naturally occurring strain of bacteria known as Wolbachia, which live in insect cells and are found in 60 percent of common insects.
Infecting mosquitoes with Wolbachia significantly reduced their ability to transmit dengue and the Zika virus, studies have shown.
A woman breeds mosquitoes that carry Wolbachia bacteria on Tri Nguyen Island. Photo credit: National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
The bacteria has been released in several countries including Australia, Brazil, and Indonesia as part of strategies to control dengue.
In the pilot project in Vietnam, it helped almost eradicate dengue cases in Tri Nguyen, an island 2 km off Nha Trang coast.
In the meeting Friday, Nguyen Dac Tai, vice chairman of Nha Trang's People's Committee, said local leaders support the plan.
However, he insisted that it be carried out discreetly.
Vietnam has so far reported three Zika patients, including one in Nha Trang.

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