Rio de Janeiro fights dengue with mosquitoes infected with a bacteria

Niterói, Brazil — Since Rio de Janeiro declared a public health emergency following a dengue outbreak In the past month, the city has increased testing capacity, opened a dozen dengue health centers and trained medical staff to address the growing needs of its population.

But in the sister city of this city of Brazil, Niterói, on the other side of Guanabara Bay, is a completely different situation. With a population of half a million people, Niterói has had some 403 cases of dengue so far this year, and its per capita incidence is one of the lowest in the state, with 69 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

In comparison, the city of Rio has an incidence of 700 cases per 100,000 people, with more than 42,000 cases.

The dengue virus is passed between humans by infected mosquitoes, but a type of bacteria called Wolbachia can interrupt the transmission of the disease.