Wolbachia bacteria to combat dengue menace in more places

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad and Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok

The health ministry will be releasing Aedes mosquitoes that contain the Wolbachia bacteria in stages across the country to control the spread of dengue, which is reported on the rise.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said this followed the success of a pilot study using such Aedes mosquitoes to contain the spread of dengue at seven localities in Selangor since March 2017.

He said the number of cases had dropped by 50-68% in these places.

By doing so, Malaysia will be the second country in the world, after Australia, to adopt this approach in addressing dengue.

This move will also reduce the use of insecticides to control dengue, he told reporters after releasing eggs of mosquitoes with Wolbachia around the Sri Rakyat housing scheme in Bukit Jalil here today.

He said a total of 62,421 dengue cases had been reported in the country between January and June this year, an increase of 29,986 cases (or 92.4%) when compared with 32,435 cases during the corresponding period last year.

“The number of deaths due to dengue for the same period this year was 93, compared with 53 last year,” he added.

On the implementation of the programme to release Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia, Dzulkefly said the first phase involved 11 localities, in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor.

He advised the public to maintain the cleanliness of their surroundings and ensure they are free of breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.

On the death of a woman, believed due to asthma, in Pasir Gudang yesterday, Dzulkefly said the ministry was still waiting for a report on the matter from the Johor Health Department.

 APHM 2019


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