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Cuba Uses Wolbachia Bacteria to Eliminate Arboviroses

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Havana, Cuba.- Using Wolbachia bacteria to prevent Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from transmitting arboviroses is one of the projects currently developed by Cuba with the aim of preventing the transmission of diseases such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya.

Cuban Dr. Guadalupe Guzman, president of the Cuban Society of Microbiology and Parasitology, told Prensa Latina that infection with the microorganism prevents these insects from making people they bite sick.

Wolbachia exists in 60% of mosquitoes, but not in the Aedes aegypti species, which is why the project consists of injecting mosquitoes with the bacteria in a laboratory, the specialist noted in reference to the 16th International Course on Dengue, Zika and Other Emerging Arboviruses.

She commented that after inoculation, the mosquitoes are released so that they can reproduce with wild females and transmit the infection to offspring until there is a high percentage of infected specimens and new releases are not necessary.

Since there is a population of resistant mosquitoes that do not transmit these pathologies, we will be able to better control outbreaks and, of course, epidemics such as the one facing the Americas region at present, with more than two million cases reported so far in 2019, she explained.

In addition, we cannot rule out the importance of intersectoral work in the campaign to eliminate the vector and strengthen prevention measures from the home to avoid breeding grounds, she said.

Guzman also pointed out the need to foster knowledge of the symptoms of arboviroses in order to avoid deterioration and provide timely treatment, especially at this time of year, when rains and high temperatures favor the insect’s reproduction, in ever shorter cycles.

The Cuban campaign against the vector was praised at the meeting by the representative in Havana of the Pan American and World Health organizations, Jose Moya, who commended the integrity of the Ministry of Public Health in preventing the spread of these viruses.

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