From BioMed Central
March 2, 2018
The infamous 2014 dengue-outbreak in Guangzhou, southern China reported over 45,000 cases. Although rarely as severe, outbreaks in this area are common due to the prevalence of the mosquito-vector Aedes albopictus. Originally considered a rural vector, Ae. albopictus has adapted to different urbanised settings. This species is also the culprit transmitting other viruses such as zika, yellow fever and chikungunya.
In response to a 2016 outbreak of zika in Guangzhou, a huge mosquito-breeding facility was built. There they reared Ae. albopictus mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria, an infection that causes infertility in the mosquito’s progeny (see previous blog). The facility released over 20 million sterile male mosquitoes weekly in an attempt to control the local mosquito populations. Since there are no available vaccines nor treatment (except for the yellow fever vaccine) for these viruses, currently vector control is the only way to control these diseases. This relies heavily on the use of insecticides, which means the manifestation of Insecticide Resistance (IR) is a significant threat to the efficacy of these control programs.