Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Health experts have proposed piloting the release of bacteria-bearing mosquitoes in the mainland of central Khánh Hoà Province’s Nha Trang City till the end of this year to combat dengue fever, with the disease causing 26 deaths nationwide this year.
The proposal was made after the Ministry of Health announced the initial success of a plan to release thousands of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria on the province’s Trí Nguyên Island.
Leaders of the ministry, reseachers of institutions had worked with Professor Scott O’Neil, director of the Institute of Vector-born Disease of Australia’s Monash University to discuss the expansion of the experimental plan to areas in the south in the upcoming years.
Dengue fever epidemics have broken out in four regions of the country this year with 108,000 infected cases, an increase of 43.5 per cent compared to the same period of last year.
A group of scientists of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology worked with Australian scientists to breed Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that can reduce the spread of dengue fever.
Previously, Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes had been released on Trí Nguyên Island in April, 2013 and November, 2014.
Data showed that the number of dengue fever cases in Nha Trang City has remained high in the past several years, yet no outbreaks were reported on the island.
Wolbachia is a natural bacterium present in up to 60 per cent of insect species, including some mosquitoes. However, it is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species mainly responsible for transmitting viruses like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika.
For many years, scientists have been studying Wolbachia. Research has shown that when introduced into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Wolbachia can stop these viruses from growing inside the mosquito.
Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes have been released in Australia, Brazil and Colombia. — VNS