Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and filariasis cause an enormous health burden to people living in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Despite years of intense effort to control them, many of these diseases are increasing in prevalence, geographical distribution and severity, and options to control them are limited. The transinfection of mosquitos with the maternally inherited, endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia is a promising new biocontrol approach. Fruit fly Wolbachia strains can invade and sustain themselves in mosquito populations, reduce adult lifespan, affect mosquito reproduction and interfere with pathogen replication. Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been released in areas of Australia in which outbreaks of dengue fever occur, as a prelude to the application of this technology in dengue-endemic areas of south-east Asia.