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And finally for some good news, Australian scientists may have found the secret to eradicating dengue fever, with a lengthy trial in Indonesia drastically reducing the incidence of the mosquito-borne virus.

The ABC reports Researchers at Melbourne's Monash University — working with scientists in Yogyakarta, in Central Java — have spent three years infecting local mosquitoes with a bacteria known to prevent them from transmitting the virus to humans.

Known as Wolbachia, the bacteria effectively starves the virus of food.

And as the infected mosquitoes breed with the wild population, their offspring also have the bacteria.

The first major results from the trial show the incidence of dengue fever in areas where the infected mosquitoes have been released has dropped by 77 per cent.

"In public health, 77 per cent is a really, really big impact," said Cameron Simmons, who heads the World Mosquito Program at Monash University.

The Wolbachia bacteria has persisted at a very high level in the wild population.

"The beauty of this approach is it's a 'once and done' method," Professor Simmons said.

"After the upfront effort to establish Wolbachia in the mosquito population, it then sustains itself for years without needing more work."

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