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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 7.7 million people (as at September 2021). In areas where Wolbachia is self-sustaining at a high level, notified dengue and chikungunya incidence has been significantly reduced

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 and an 86% reduction in dengue hospitalisations 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.

 

Economic benefits forecast

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

 

Clinical trials

Results from a randomised controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia have been significant. Ongoing city-wide trials in Colombia and Brazil hope to release results in the coming months.

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
dengue incidence
Country & Sites Implementation highlights Area People reached Impact-to-date
Vietnam
Nha Trang
Releases: 2013-14, 2018 2.2 km² 16,784 Dengue incidence in Wolbachia release area ↓ 61% following Wolbachia deployments.
Indonesia
Yogyakarta
Releases: 2015-17, 2020-present 289 km² 1,149,035 Cluster randomised trial showed a 77% reduction in dengue incidence and 86% reduction in dengue hospitalisations in Wolbachia-treated communities
Australia
northern Queensland
Releases: 2011-17, 2019 299 km² 328,334 Dengue incidence ↓ 98% in Cairns and 95% in Townsville. Effective elimination of dengue as a public health concern.
Colombia
Medellin, Bello, Itaguia and Cali
Releases: 2015-2021 138 km² 3,345,914 Dengue incidence reduced by 62% in Bello and 59% in Medellin. Case-control study ongoing throughout 2021.
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Niteroi, Belo Horizonte, Campo Grande and Petrolina
Releases: 2015 - present 329 km² 2,116,409 Dengue incidence reduced by 40% in Rio de Janeiro and 65% in Niteroi. Chikungunya incidence reduced by 46% in Niteroi
Western Pacific
Suva, Nadi, Lautoka Fiji; Port Vila, Vanuatu; South Tarawa, Kiribati
Releases: 2018-19 157 km² 436,786 Monitoring of impact ongoing.
Mexico
La Paz
Releases: 2019-21 50 km² 241,099 Monitoring of impact ongoing.
New Caledonia
Noumea
Releases: 2019-21 49 km² 116,288 Monitoring of impact ongoing.
Sri Lanka
Colombo
Releases: 2020-21 20 km² 230,551 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.