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5-Animals: U.S. research project on GE mosquitos to reduce incidence of dengue fever

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TITLE:  Mosquito Expert Battles Spread of Dengue Fever
SOURCE: University of California - Davis, USA
DATE:   7 Nov 2005

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Mosquito Expert Battles Spread of Dengue Fever

A UC Davis expert on insect-borne diseases will lead a research project
on the feasibility of genetically modifying mosquitoes to reduce the
incidence of dengue fever.

Dengue fever, which has been known for more than 200 years, is caused by
a virus transmitted to people by a mosquito species known as the Aedes
aegypti. An estimated 50 million cases of dengue infection occur
annually, according to the World Health Organization, including 100 to
200 cases reported each year in the United States. Approximately 20,000
people, mostly children, die each year from the disease.

Entomology professor Thomas Scott will select field-test sites in
Southeast Asia and Latin America and oversee the construction and
management of large outdoor experimental field cages. There the
researchers will examine how mosquitoes might be genetically modified to
reduce the ability of infected mosquitoes to successfully transmit dengue
virus, and to reduce or eliminate mosquito populations. No genetically
modified mosquitoes will be released into the natural environment.

The research is funded with $2.2 million from the Foundation for the
National Institutes of Health's Grand Challenges in Global Health
Initiative, launched in 2003 by the Gates Foundation.

Scott is director of the Davis Arbovirus Research Unit, a program of the
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Arboviruses are viruses carried
by animals called arthropods, which include insects and spiders.

Additional information:
More about Thomas Scott's dengue and malaria research
Davis Arbovirus Research Unit

Media contact(s):
- Thomas Scott, Entomology, (530) 754-4196,
- Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843,


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