Australian experiment wipes out over 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito on human skin in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center (CIDEIM) in 2016.

(CNN)In an experiment with global implications, Australian scientists have successfully wiped out more than 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes in trial locations across north Queensland.

The experiment, conducted by scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and James Cook University (JCU), targeted Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread deadly diseases such as dengue fever and Zika.
In JCU laboratories, researchers bred almost 20 million mosquitoes, infecting males with bacteria that made them sterile. Then, last summer, they released over three million of them in three towns on the Cassowary Coast.
    The sterile male mosquitoes didn't bite or spread disease, but when they mated with wild females, the resulting eggs didn't hatch, and the population crashed.
    "The invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito is one of the world's most dangerous pests," said CSIRO Director of Health and Biosecurity Rob Grenfell