Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes to be released in Suva today

For many years, scientists have been studying Wolbachia, looking for ways to use it to potentially control the mosquitoes that transmit human viruses. The World Mosquito Program’s research has shown that when introduced into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Wolbachia can help to reduce the transmission of these viruses to people. This important discovery has the potential to transform the fight against life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases.

MOSQUITOES carrying Wolbachia will be released today in Suva as part of the World Mosquito Program’s approach to tackling diseases such as dengue.

And members of the public are invited to help celebrate the release of the Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes, which is an innovative, natural, self-sustaining approach to tackling mosquito borne diseases.

Wolbachia are natural and safe bacteria present in up to 60 per cent of insect species, including some mosquitoes.

However, Wolbachia is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting human viruses such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

The World Mosquito Program’s research has shown that when introduced into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Wolbachia can help to reduce the transmission of these viruses to people. This important discovery has the potential to transform the fight against life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases.

According to a statement from the World Mosquito Program, the release of the Wolbachia mosquitoes has been approved by Government though Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.

Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services chief health inspector Dip Chand said the event would provide a great environment to discover how Wolbachia works.

The project in Fiji is funded by the Australian Government’s innovationXchange and works in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and Live and Learn Environmental Education.

The project is currently being rolled out in Suva, Nausori and Lami corridors.

Fiji 7s rugby Olympian Jasa Veremalua will  be releasing the Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes at Suva’s Ratu Sukuna Park from 11am today.

 

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