Release Of Dengue Blocking Mosquito Essay

945 words - 4 pages

Mike Paddock (2010) explains to us that Dengue Fever, also known as breakbone fever, is a mosquito-borne infection that causes severe flu-like symptoms. It is considered a febrile illness that affects infants, young children, and adults with symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite. It is also most commonly reported in Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization (World Health Organization, [WHO], 2014), approximately 2.5 billion people are now at risk from dengue. Margie Mason (2013) explains that in November 2013, Entomologist Nguyen Thi Yen released her dengue-blocking mosquitoes in Vietnam. Her mosquitoes are intentionally filled with bacteria known as Wolbachia, which essentially blocks people from getting dengue by allowing the mosquitoes to feed into their blood. This leads to a decline on those who get the disease because no one can catch the disease if the mosquitoes do not have it (Paddock, 2010).
Scientist Scott O’Neill has been so fascinated with the disease that he began responding to it at Yale University about twenty years ago. Out of curiosity, his team conducted research to test how the Wolbachia worked in mosquitoes. This was performed in small communities in Australia where dengue is not a problem. The results were enough to have other scientists searching for ways to fight off the disease. The Australians then linked up with Yen and transported the mosquitoes to Tri Nguyen Island, Vietnam, where they laid eggs. Eventually, the eggs were hatched and delivered back to the lab. To intervene on this issue, community workers went from house-to-house in raging heat for five months releasing the newborn mosquitoes (Mason, 2013). One resident stated, “We do not kill the mosquitoes. We let them bite. The Wolbachia living in the house is like a doctor in the house. They may bite, but they stop dengue.” Specimens were collected from traps and analyzed in lab to determine how well they infiltrated the native population. According to Mason (2013), the strain of bacteria used on the island blocks dengue 100 percent, but it is also the hardest to sustain. Dengue is an illness that affects the area’s population drastically. The director of infectious diseases, Dr. Nguyen Dong, says that 75 of the 86 patients crammed into the open-air ward of the area’s main hospital with the virus. Despite the government’s increased education campaigns and resources, the disease continues to overwhelm the hospital (Mason, 2013). Thailand has struggled with an increasingly large number of patients being affected in the past year. Furthermore, cases have also been detected in Singapore, Laos, Europe, and even in the United States.
I believe that the outbreak is so prevalent because no one can really do anything to stop dengue from spreading. There is no cure for dengue fever nor are there any vaccines, so prevention is key (Paddock, 2010)....

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