Fiji Time: 12:56 AM on Saturday 24 March

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

Weapon in the war on mozzies

Priya Chand
Friday, March 09, 2018

Does the word 'bacteria' send a shiver down your spine?

Apart from a handful of science enthusiasts, it is safe to say the word 'bacteria' does not exactly provoke any kind of excitement.

If anything, in a world where people are constantly bombarded with ways and products to "kill bacteria", it's reasonable to attach a negative connotation to the word (which, in many cases, is fair enough).

However, it turns out that some bacterium can be our ally against disease.

The World Mosquito Program is using natural and safe bacteria as a tool to combat mosquito-borne diseases — and this fascinating discovery might just change stereotypical perception.

These good bacteria called Wolbachia are naturally present in up to 60 per cent of all insect species, including some mosquitoes, but is not found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting human viruses such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

The World Mosquito Program (WMP) has introduced Wolbachia into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, finding the bacteria reduces the transmission of these viruses to people.

This important discovery has the potential to transform the fight against life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases.

WMP has developed a low-cost method that has been welcomed by health authorities and communities in 11 countries around the world, including Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and New Caledonia.

It comes at an important time for the South Pacific, where there has been over 30,000 suspected cases of dengue in the past few years alone.

This is not an emergency measure, but 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 traditional control techniques such as insecticides and breeding site removal.

In Fiji, WMP is working with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services with the support of the Australian Government's innovationXchange.

This year, the program is being rolled out in Suva as an additional tool to try and help significantly reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64290.6239
JPY 52.917249.9172
GBP 0.35110.3431
EUR 0.40370.3917
NZD 0.69480.6618
AUD 0.64820.6232
USD 0.49830.4813



Exchange Rate updated on 23th, March, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Set academic goals achieved
  2. Teacher 'abused'
  3. Student queries A-G on expats
  4. PM: Take warnings seriously
  5. 7s return
  6. Marist 7s: Tuvalu recruits Fijians
  7. Suspects arrested for robbery caught on video
  8. Tabadamu chases fourth Marist title
  9. No universal vaccine
  10. Good news for fishers

Top Stories this Week

  1. Meningococcal disease outbreak Tuesday (20 Mar)
  2. 'Forced to go' Saturday (17 Mar)
  3. Doctors speak out Sunday (18 Mar)
  4. No desk for this girl Monday (19 Mar)
  5. Where are our horses Sunday (18 Mar)
  6. 12 dead by disease Tuesday (20 Mar)
  7. Police appeal to livestock owners Monday (19 Mar)
  8. Teacher reports male student in washroom for girls Tuesday (20 Mar)
  9. Speaker orders Nawaikula to withdraw accusation Saturday (17 Mar)
  10. SGS junior has fastest 100m time Wednesday (21 Mar)