Wolbachia plan being finalised

Fiji Sevens Olympian and Wolbachia champion Jasa Veremalua (2nd from right) at the World Mosquito Program launch in Suva on March 21. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Fiji Sevens Olympian and Wolbachia champion Jasa Veremalua (2nd from right) at the World Mosquito Program launch in Suva on March 21. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

THE World Mosquito Program (WMP) Fiji is currently finalising arrangements with Biosecurity Authority of Fiji for the importation of mosquito eggs with wolbachia bacteria. This was highlighted by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and focal point for WMP Fiji, Dip Chand, who said the mosquito eggs had been sent to Monash University in Australia.

“These eggs help us create Fijian mosquitoes that carry wolbachia. Their eggs will be send back to Fiji,” Mr Chand said.

“The project is being rolled out in the Suva, Nausori and Lami corridor. Currently we are targeting these areas because the Central Division records the highest reported mosquito-related illnesses, particularly dengue. “We expect that wolbachia mosquitoes to help decrease the risk of outbreaks and provide protection in outer-lying communities. “We are currently working with communities in these corridors to share information about wolbachia and how it can make their communities safe.”

He added WMP Fiji was on track to start releasing mosquitoes with wolbachia viruses within the next few months.

“This will only go ahead with strong community support. We do not want to release mosquitoes that carry wolbachia if the community does not want it,” he said.

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