Wolbachia mosquitoes released in Fiji to curb spread of dengue

Suva: Fiji has identified hot spots for dengue fever where officials of the World Mosquito Programme (WMP) will release the Wolbachia mosquitoes on Monday to curb the spread of dengue, Zika and chikungunya diseases.

According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), over 7 million Fijian dollars ($3 million) is being spent on piloting the project across Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati, reports Xinhua news agency.

The first batch of Aedes aegypti mosquito, carrying Wolbachia bacteria will be released on Monday along the roadsides between the Lami to Nausori corridor on Fiji’s Queens Road.

Wolbachia is a natural and safe bacteria that reduce the ability of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to transmit viruses between people. The bacteria-carrying mosquitoes breed with the wild Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the area, passing Wolbachia to their offspring.

It is not an emergency measure but is a long term, self-sustaining solution to significantly reduce the risk of future outbreaks in high-risk areas. The WMP’s Wolbachia method is also compatible with other methods such as insecticides and vaccines.

Mosquito-borne diseases are a health concern for people living in Fiji. In 2017, approximately 2,200 dengue cases were reported in the island nation.

Image source: Daily News