Researchers are reporting success in using bacteria-carrying mosquitoes to fight dengue fever. Tests involving the release of laboratory-grown mosquitoes led to sharp drops in dengue cases in several countries.
Dengue infections appear to be dropping fast in communities in Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil and Australia, an international research team reported.
The results represent the first evidence from large field trials aiming to test the effectiveness of the bacteria-carrying insects. The kind of bacteria they carry is common in insects but harmless to people.
Dengue spreads when a mosquito bites an infected person and then bites someone else. But the mosquitoes that were given the bacteria do not seem to pass on the disease.
Cameron Simmons is with the not-for-profit World Mosquito Program, which carried out the research. He told The Associated Press that the tests are an example of efforts to move away from using pesticides as a way to kill insects. "This is really about transforming the mosquito," Simmons said.
卡梅伦·西蒙斯与非营利性世界蚊子计划合作进行了这项研究。 他告诉美联社，这些测试是努力摆脱使用农药作为杀虫方法的一个例子。 西蒙斯说：“这实际上是在改变蚊子。”
The first signs of success came in Australia. Mosquitoes produced to carry the Wolbachia bacteria were released in parts of North Queensland beginning in 2011. Over time, the insects spread through the local mosquito population. Health officials in those communities reported that the local spread of dengue had nearly disappeared, Simmons said.
Next, researchers found success in areas of Asia and Latin America, where large dengue outbreaks are common. Millions of people in these areas have caught the painful and sometimes deadly disease.
成功的最初迹象出现在澳大利亚。 从2011年开始，生产携带Wolbachia细菌的蚊子在北昆士兰州部分地区被释放。随着时间的流逝，这些昆虫在当地的蚊子种群中传播。 西蒙斯说，那些社区的卫生官员报告说，登革热在当地的蔓延几乎消失了。
Scientists released Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes in an Indonesian community near Yogyakarta in 2016. Simmons' team reports that the community has since seen a 76-percent decrease in dengue numbers, compared to a nearby area where regular mosquitoes continued to bite.
Researchers found a similar drop in a community near the southern Vietnamese city of Nha Trang.
Early results also suggest large reductions in dengue and a related virus in a few neighborhoods in Brazil, near Rio de Janeiro.
Studies are continuing in these and other countries. But the findings suggest it is possible to turn at least some mosquitoes from a public health threat into dengue fighters.
The latest results mark "exciting progress," said Michigan State University professor Zhiyong Xi, who was not involved with the project. He has led his own studies on how Wolbachia can turn mosquitoes against themselves.
Reducing disease "is the ultimate success of our field," said University of Maryland biologist Brian Lovett. Lovett also was not part of the project.
密西根州立大学教授Xiyong Xi表示，最新结果标志着“令人鼓舞的进展”，他没有参与该项目。 他领导了有关沃尔巴克氏菌如何使蚊子对自己不利的研究。
Experts say more research is needed to confirm the methods and results. Elizabeth McGraw is an expert on the subject at Penn State University. She noted that the latest research used local health groups' counts of dengue cases rather than blood tests.
"The results are pretty exciting - strong levels of reductions - but there clearly are going to be things to be learned from [these] areas where the reductions are not as great," McGraw told the AP.
专家说，需要更多的研究来确认方法和结果。 伊丽莎白·麦格劳是宾州州立大学的专家。 她指出，最新研究使用了当地卫生团体对登革热病例的计数，而不是对血液的检测。
More than half of insect species from fruit flies to butterflies -- are naturally infected with Wolbachia. But the main spreaders of dengue, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, are not. They are daytime biters who do well in hot, highly populated areas where widespread pesticide spraying has been the main method of protection.
从果蝇到蝴蝶的昆虫种类中有超过一半-自然感染了Wolbachia。 但是，登革热的主要传播者不是埃及伊蚊。 他们是白天的苦味者，在人口稠密的高温地区（散布农药喷洒已成为主要保护方法）表现良好。
Words in This Story：
transform – v.to change something completely
ultimate – adj.final or most important
species – n.a group of plants or animals that share similar qualities