Predicting Wolbachia potential to knock down dengue virus transmission
Releasing mosquitoes infected with the intracellular bacteria Wolbachia is a candidate strategy for dengue control that has recently advanced to field-testing. A critical next step is to evaluate the impact of this strategy on dengue epidemiology. A recent study by Ferguson and colleagues presents a mathematical framework to predict the likely effect of mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia on dengue virus transmission. Fitting the mathematical model to empirical data obtained with Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes experimentally challenged with viremic blood from dengue patients indicates that dengue virus transmission could be reduced by a degree that would have a significant impact on public health.