Mozzies turned against themselves in hope of dengue death
Mosquitoes may be used for the opposite of their usual purpose, in a project releasing swarms to reduce dengue fever.
Queensland researchers are meeting with community leaders to convince them that releasing thousands of mosquitoes will help reduce the dangerous mosquito-borne disease.
Scientists in the north Queensland city of Townsville want to introduce mosquitoes infected with the bacteria Wolbachia, which makes them resistant to dengue fever.
Previous research has shown that Wolbachia prevents mosquitoes from transmitting dengue, and researchers hope that they will overrun the existing dengue-carrying population.
Dengue is a serious but often overlooked disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the incidence of dengue has risen dramatically in recent decades, up to about 390 million cases around the world every year.
Dengue is sometimes fatal or can leave a victim with lifelong chronic fatigue, and it has no specific treatment or vaccine.
The high rate of Australian tourism to Bali and South-East Asia has quadrupled the incidence of dengue in recent years.
The north Queensland cities picked for the trials are similar in climate to international sites, some of which are virtually ridden with dengue.
Researchers say that there has not been too much community opposition to the plan so far, particularly in areas where dengue incidence is high and many people are aware of its effects.
Wolbachia mosquitoes could be unleashed as soon as October, following successful community consultation.