Wolbachia to fight dengue

by | Apr 12, 2023 | NATIONAL, NEWS | 0 comments

In a pilot run of a dengue control project in 2017, Wolbachia carrying Aedes mosquitoes were released at 11 dengue hotspots in the Klang Valley successfully and since then the mosquitoes have been released in another 39 localities.

Within a year, dengue cases reduced significantly and this has prompted the Health Ministry’s Diseases Control Department, in collaboration with the Institute of Medical Research (IMR), to deploy Wolbachia carrying Aedes to 28 more localities.

Malaysia is the first endemic country to use Wolbachia mosquitoes for dengue control and the Health Ministry has established a five year plan for the release of Wolbachia mosquitoes in dengue hotspots.

Other measures which the Health Ministry has utilized include vector control, consisting of source reduction, chemical control, biological control and even genetic control which were among the strategies used to combat Aedes borne viruses.

The Health Ministry disclosed that the Malaysian approach is a replacement strategy, where both male and female mosquitoes are released to replace the wild Aedes population in the field from multiplying.

IMR stated that the Wolbachia strategy was that it prevented the mosquito from picking up the dengue virus from dengue patients who are asymptomatic but there had been no solution to prevent it until Wolbachia was introduced.