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The World Mosquito Program’s Wolbachia method is protecting communities around the world from mosquito-borne diseases.

Our evidence

We have growing evidence for the effectiveness and safety of our Wolbachia method and have set up projects in 11 countries.

We have released Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes to reach more than 5.3 million people (as at June 2020). In areas where Wolbachia is self-sustaining at a high level, there has been a significant reduction in the number of dengue cases. 

Results from our project sites show dengue incidence is significantly lower in Wolbachia-treated communities compared with untreated neighboring populations. Our most recent gold-standard trial in Yogyakarta showed a 77% reduction in dengue incidence in Wolbachia treated areas compared with untreated areas. 

Safe and self-sustaining

Wolbachia is safe and its virus-blocking properties persist in mosquito populations many years after release.

Reduced disease burden

There have been large reductions in dengue incidence in communities where the World Mosquito Program's method has been applied.

Deployable at large scale

City-wide deployments are in progress in Medellín and Bello, Colombia and Rio de Janeiro and Niterói, Brazil (due to complete in 2019).

Economic benefits forecast

The World Mosquito Program's method is predicted to be cost-saving in urban communities.

Clinical trials underway

Results from a randomised controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia have recently been announced. Ongoing city-wide trials in Colombia and Brazil hope to release results in 2021.

Mathematical modelling

Independent experts predict that the World Mosquito Program's method will eliminate dengue transmissions for decades.

Since the World Mosquito Program's Wolbachia method was established in Cairns' mosquito population, we've seen an end to debilitating outbreaks of dengue. The World Mosquito Program’s technology has revolutionised health security in northern Queensland, bringing peace of mind to thousands of people.
Dr Richard Gair
Director and Public Health Physician, Tropical Public Health Services Cairns, Australia
Dr Richard Gair
disease impact chart
 
This graph shows reduced dengue incidence in the project sites where we have finished releasing Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes.

 

In 2020, we expect to report more results from Brazil, Colombia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Mexico and New Caledonia.

Public health officials have praised the World Mosquito Program’s Wolbachia method for protecting communities in northern Queensland, Australia, from dengue outbreaks for the past five years.

Data to June 2020

Country & Sites Implementation highlights Area People reached Impact-to-date
Vietnam
Vinh Luong
Releases: 2013-14, 2018 2.2 km² 15,670 Dengue incidence in Wolbachia release area ↓ 79% following Wolbachia deployments.
Indonesia
Yogyakarta
Releases: 2015-17 27 km² 332,718 Cluster randomised trial showed a 77% reduction in dengue in Wolbachia-treated communities.
Australia
northern Queensland
Releases: 2011-17, 2019 299 km² 312,183 Dengue incidence ↓ 95%. Effective elimination of dengue as a public health concern.
Colombia
Medellin and Bello
Releases: 2015-19 143 km² 3,070,765 Dengue incidence in Bello ↓ 57%. Case-control study ongoing throughout 2021.
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi
Releases: 2015 - present 161 km² 1,262,093 Dengue incidence ↓ 33% in Rio de Janeiro and 69% in Niteroi. Chikungunya incidence ↓ 62% in Niteroi.
Western Pacific
Suva, Nadi, Lautoka Fiji; Port Vila, Vanuatu; South Tarawa, Kiribati
Releases: 2018-19 157 km² 390,090 Monitoring of impact ongoing.
The Wolbachia method is a great public health scientific achievement to address major challenges in global health, including the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We’re proud to be collaborating with the World Mosquito Program to deliver this environmentally friendly, accessible and sustainable solution.
Dr Paulo Gadelha
Former President of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) Brazil and UN 10-Member Group to support Technology Facilitation Mechanism
We never thought that there could come a time when someone would research on a mosquito that was safe…
Premila Chandra
Nadi Chief Health Inspector
Premila Chandra - Fiji

 

United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, to create a better world by 2030.

Our work supports many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), primarily SDG #3: Good health and well-being, in particular Target 3.3: Fight communicable diseases. This target calls for the end to epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and to combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases. Dengue, Zika and chikungunya are classified as neglected tropical diseases. 

Our work also supports

SDG #1: No poverty

Costly medical treatment for mosquito-borne diseases cause financial hardship for individuals and households, and time spent recuperating restricts their ability to earn a living or pursue education. Our work towards reducing these diseases will help to decrease poverty and increase economic prosperity.

SDG #11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The majority of our work is undertaken in high-density urban environments where Aedes aegypti thrive and where viruses can be easily transferred from one person to the next. Our approach is very cost effective and indeed is predicted to be cost-saving in most populous city locations where these diseases are currently entrenched and create sustained economic burden. 

SDG #17: Partnerships for the Goals

The global effort to control and eliminate mosquito-borne diseases is one of the largest public health initiatives ever undertaken. Our work towards mobilising financial resources from partners and funders, and working in partnership with government, non-government organisations and local communities, is helping to reduce mosquito-borne diseases.

field staff member in FIji
 

Supporting women
and girls

Women and girls are particularly affected by mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and Zika. 

Our research shows that girls with dengue are at higher risk of severe symptoms and death than boys. 

Women who are infected by Zika virus during pregnancy can bear children with serious health conditions, including microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause life-long disability.

The World Mosquito Program’s innovative method to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is, therefore, supporting women and girls to live healthier lives and prevent the risks associated with mosquito-borne diseases.