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Dengue fever is the fastest-growing vector-borne infectious disease in the world. Estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show an incidence of 50 million dengue infections per year.

In Malaysia, deaths from the disease have risen by more than 50 per cent this year – to around 100 people.

Now the country is considering a world-first trial release of genetically modified mosquitoes developed by a British firm into the environment in order to tackle the public health issue.

But several academics warn there is no such thing as a trial release and that history is littered with negative examples of invasive species being worse for the environment than the problem they were supposed to fix.

They say the Aedes mosquito which carries dengue fever is already an introduced species and the unforeseen consequences of releasing genetically modified Aedes mosquitoes could produce an unforeseen health risk far greater than dengue.

This week on 101 East, we ask: What are the real risks in trying to eradicate one of the developing world's most widespread diseases?

This 101 East episode airs from Thursday, October 14, 2010 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1230, 2330; Friday: 0630; Saturday: 0030, 1930; Sunday: 0330, 1630; Monday: 0830; Tuesday: 0730, 1430.

Source: Al Jazeera