Wolbachia re­leased to elim­i­nate mos­qui­toes that spread sick­ness

Fiji Sun - - Comment - WATI TALEBULA Edited by Percy Kean Feed­back: wati.talebula@fi­jisun.com.fj

To elim­i­nate mos­qui­toes that spread dengue fever, chikun­gunya and zika more Wolbachia were re­leased at Ratu Sukuna Park yes­ter­day.

World Mos­quito Pro­gramme or­gan­ised a fam­ily aware­ness day for mem­bers of the pub­lic where they were ed­u­cated about Wolbachia.

Chief Health In­spec­tor and na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal health ad­viser, Dip Chand said they would soon be start­ing phase two of Wolbachia.

“We wanted the pub­lic to be alerted and in­formed about Wolbachia so that it would be eas­ier to re­lease Wolbachia in dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties,” Mr Chand said.

“We are happy with the turn out. This is a fam­ily day where they were en­ter­tained and ed­u­cated. We wanted the fam­i­lies to en­joy them­selves and have fun.

“For Wolbachia phase one we were spon­sored by the Aus­tralian Govern­ment.

“Van­u­atu, Kiri­bati and Fiji re­ceived $3.5 mil­lion for the Wolbachia pro­gramme. “When Wolbachia is in­side an Aedes ae­gypti mos­quito, the mos­quito can­not pass on dengue, chikingunya and zika. “When Wolbachia breeds with wild mos­quito then the off­spring will be Wolbachia mos­quito.”

Mr Chand said they hoped to fin­ish phase one in De­cem­ber.

“We hope to in­tro­duce Wolbachia to all Aedes ae­gy­oti mos­qui­toes in the Lami and Suva-Nau­sori cor­ri­dor,” he said.

“We will also be go­ing down to the Western Di­vi­sion.”

New Zealand For­eign Af­fairs and Trade will spon­sor us. The spon­sor­ship is lit­tle above $3 mil­lion.

“We are hop­ing that grad­u­ally there will be no wild mos­qui­toes in Fiji.”

World Mos­quito Pro­gramme, Min­istry of Health & Med­i­cal Ser­vices and Live & Learn En­vi­ron­men­tal Ed­u­ca­tion are work­ing to­gether to en­sure that all homes are safe and to elim­i­nate mos­qui­toes that spread dengue fever, chikun­gunya and zika.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Wolbachia mos­qui­toes were re­leased in Suva by World Mos­quito Pro­gramme Am­bas­sador, Fi­jian Olympian Jese Vere­malu at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva on Oc­to­ber 13, 2018.

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