Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes as a new tool to contain Dengue

The government wants to stop fogging in selected areas in order to enable aedes mosquitoes to breed freely. 

Instead, mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia virus will be released in 10 localities in the Klang Valley from July. The Wolbachia has the capability to prevent the dengue virus from replicating itself in the mosquito.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the plan is to have these infected mosquitoes spread the virus around as a way to stem the spread of dengue fever.
“We want to prevent fogging so we don’t kill these mosquitoes,” she told the press at the Parliament lobby today.
A trial run in 2017, when four million infected mosquitoes were released in five localities in Shah Alam and Keramat, resulted in a 60% to 70% reduction in the incidence of dengue fever.
This time, the mosquitoes will be released in eight areas in Selangor and two in Kuala Lumpur.
It costs 50 sen to infect one mosquito with the Wolbachia virus, down from RM1 previously. The technology was imported from Australia.
Wan Azizah said the effort was necessary in view of the high incidence of dengue cases and deaths nationwide. In just the first three months of this year, the number of cases has risen by 146.3% and the number of deaths is up 84.4%, compared with the same period last year.
She also revealed that the use of artificial intelligence to predict where there will be a spike in the incidence of aedes mosquitoes and dengue cases is being considered.

/theSUN 02-04-2019

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