Mosquito borne diseases to drop

FIJIANS can expect a decline in dengue fever, chikungunya and zika cases in two to three years’ time following the signing of a memorandum of Agreement between the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and Monash University of Australia yesterday.

The MOA will allow Fiji to export two shipments of aedes aegypti (black and white strip mosquito) eggs to Monash University which will be used for cross-breeding purposes to create the Wolbacia Aedes mosquito species which will act as a barrier to the transmission of mosquito borne diseases.

The project, which is working extremely well in Vanuatu and Kiribati, is worth about $7.5 million.

Ministry of Health’s chief health inspector and national adviser environmental health Dip Chand said the program would result in a tremendous decline in mosquito borne diseases in the country.

“We expect a big decline in numbers in terms of dengue fever, zika and chikungunya cases we have in Fiji,” he said.

“We have seen this Wolbacia program that was implemented in other countries which has resulted in a good number of cases reduced in terms of health burden, sickness and all other costs associated with the treatment of patients, so Fiji is no exception.”

Mr Chand said after six rounds of cross breeding on the aedes aegypti mosquito specie, the eggs would be sent back to Fiji from Monash University and would be reared in the country before it was released out to the field.

The new mosquito specie — Wolbacia — will be released in the Suva-Nausori corridor.

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