NATION

Project To Reduce Dengue Outbreak On Track: Report

WATI TALEBULA, Suva To eliminate mosquitoes that spread dengue fever, chikungunya and zika more Wolbachia carring mosquitoes have been released in the Suva-Nausori corridor. The first progress report, since it
26 Jan 2019 10:00
Project To Reduce Dengue Outbreak On Track: Report
World Mosquito Programme Ambassador, Fijian Olympian Jasa Veremalua at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva. Photo: Ronald Kumar

WATI TALEBULA, Suva

To eliminate mosquitoes that spread dengue fever, chikungunya and zika more Wolbachia carring mosquitoes have been released in the Suva-Nausori corridor.

The first progress report, since it started releases of Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes in Fiji, revealed the project is on track to reducing local dengue outbreaks.

Wolbachia are natural and safe bacteria that reduce the ability of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to transmit viruses between people.

The mosquitoes that are released breed with the wild Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the area, passing Wolbachia to their offspring.

The World Mosquito Programme has been releasing Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes in the country since July 2018.

Wolbachia mosquitoes were released in Suva by World Mosquito Programme  Ambassador, Fijian Olympian Jasa Veremalua at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva on  October 13, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Wolbachia mosquitoes were released in Suva by World Mosquito Programme
Ambassador, Fijian Olympian Jasa Veremalua at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva on
October 13, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar26

Monitoring shows Wolbachia is now present in the local Aedes aegypti mosquito population and the percentage of mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia is continuing to climb, as expected.

The WMP’s project coordinator in Fiji, Aminiasi Tavui, said it would take time to see Wolbachia at high levels, but they had reached an important milestone.

“We have completed releases in Lami, Tamavua/Wailoku, Cunnigham/Tacirua, Kalabu/Naveiwakau and Kinoya because we believe the Wolbachia level is high enough to sustain itself and to continue to increase naturally,” Mr Tavui said.

“Releases will continue across the rest of our project sites over the coming weeks and we will keep monitoring progress, however, overall, we are feeling extremely positive.”

The Rotary Club of Suva has been assisting the project by mobilising locals to grow and release Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes around their homes.

“The project will contribute immensely to improving public health in the country, with government, partners and community support pivotal to making it happen,” MrTavui said.

“We are so thankful to the thousands of locals who have and continue to support our pilot project.”

The World Mosquito Programme, the Ministry of Health & Medical Services and Live & Learn Environmental Education are working together to ensure that all homes are safe by eliminating mosquitoes that spread dengue fever, chikungunya and zika.

 Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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