Assessing key safety concerns of a Wolbachia-based strategy to control dengue transmission by Aedes mosquitoes

Jean Popovici, Luciano Moreira, Anne Poinsignon, Inaki Iturbe-Ormaetxe, Darlene McNaughton, Scott Leslie O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya or malaria affect millions of people each year and control solutions are urgently needed. An international research program is currently being developed that relies on the introduction of the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis into Aedes aegypti to control dengue transmission. In order to prepare for open-field testing releases of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, an intensive social research and community engagement program was undertaken in Cairns, Northern Australia. The most common concern expressed by the diverse range of community members and stakeholders surveyed was the necessity of assuring the safety of the proposed approach for humans, animals and the environment. To address these concerns a series of safety experiments were undertaken. We report in this paper on the experimental data obtained, discuss the limitations of experimental risk assessment and focus on the necessity of including community concerns in scientific research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957 - 964
Number of pages8
JournalMemorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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