SUVA, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Fiji has identified the hot spots for dengue fever where officials of the World Mosquito Program (WMP) will release the Wolbachia mosquitoes on Monday to curb the spread of dengue, Zika and chikungunya diseases.
According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), over 7 million Fijian dollars (about 3.3 million U.S. dollars) is being spent on piloting the project across Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati. The first batch of Aedes aegypti mosquito, carrying Wolbachia bacteria will be released on Monday along the roadsides between the Lami to Nausori corridor on Fiji's Queens Road.
Wolbachia is a natural and safe bacteria that reduce the ability of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to transmit viruses between people. The bacteria-carrying mosquitoes breed with the wild Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the area, passing Wolbachia to their offspring.
It is not an emergency measure but is a long term, self-sustaining solution to significantly reduce the risk of future outbreaks in high-risk areas. The WMP's Wolbachia method is also compatible with other methods such as insecticides and vaccines.
Project Manager Geoff Wilson said the results from similar projects in other countries showed that the natural Wolbachia method was self-sustaining up to seven years after they were released.
Mosquito borne-diseases are a health concern for people living in Fiji. In 2017, approximately 2,200 dengue cases were reported in the island nation.
The WMP and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in Fiji have made a commitment to working together to pilot an innovative approach to protect people from mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya.