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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 12 countries.

We have released Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes to reach approximately 4.4 million people (as at June 2019). In areas where Wolbachia is self-sustaining at a high level, there have been no dengue outbreaks. 

Results from our project sites show dengue incidence is significantly lower in Wolbachia-treated communities than in untreated populations.

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 are expected from a randomised controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia by 2020, and a case-control study in Medellín, by 2019.

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
Barchart
 
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.

Country & Sites Release status Area Population Impact-to-date
Vietnam
Vinh Luong
Releases completed 2018 1 km² 12,000 Dengue incidence ↓ 86% compared to neighbouring Nha Trang city.
Indonesia
Yogyakarta
Releases completed 2017 17 km² 234,000 Dengue incidence ↓ 76% in pilot study area. A randomised controlled trial is ongoing until 2020.
Australia
northern Queensland
Releases completed 2011–2019 300 km² 312,000 Dengue incidence ↓ 96%. No dengue outbreaks in the past 5 years.
Colombia
Medellin and Bello
Releases ongoing as of June 2019 106 km² 2,258,000 No dengue outbreaks in Wolbachia-treated areas of city-wide deployments.
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi
Releases ongoing as of June 2019 118 km² 1,163,000 Preliminary results of city-wide deployments indicate dengue incidence ↓45–79% and chikungunya incidence ↓21–74%.
Western Pacific
Suva, Nadi, Lautoka Fiji; Port Vila, Vanuatu; South Tarawa, Kiribatii
Releases completed at all Pacific sites as of June 2019 116 km² 351,000 Monitoring ongoing, with results expected 2020.
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 #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.