Researchers in Brazil have freed a batch of mosquitoes infected with a dengue blocking bacteria which they hope can naturally combat the deadly disease.
Scientists at the Rio de Janeiro-based Fiocruz research institute are taking part in a global project to release the mosquitoes.
Similar action has already taken place in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The mosquitoes released Wednesday are infected with the Wolbachia bacteria that can block them from getting the highly infectious disease dengue and passing it to humans.
It’s hoped the bacteria will be passed through generations of mosquitoes and eventually wipe out the insects’ ability to spread dengue.
Dengue – which has no known cure and which is described by the World Health Organization as one of the fastest-growing viral threats globally – affects millions of people in south and southeast Asia every year.
In the Indian sub-continent, the onset of the annual monsoons marks and Dengue fever season.
Patients experience extreme joint pain, high fever and severe headaches. Millions are affected and dozens of deaths are reported every year across India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and beyond.