Communities show support for mosquito releases

A field trial has begun this week in the communities of Nogotirto and Kronggahan, in the Sleman district of Yogyakarta. The trial involves releasing mosquitoes that carry Wolbachia, natural bacteria that reduce the ability of mosquitoes to pass dengue between people.

The first of a series of weekly releases took place in Nogotirto on 22nd January, and in Kronggahan on 23rd January.

Overall, we have received strong support from both communities, with more than 90% of residents agreeing to us releasing Wolbachia mosquitoes near their homes. Over the past 18 months we have been regularly meeting with residents – both one-on-one and in larger community meetings – to explain our research and answer any questions.

A small group of community members has expressed concerns about our plans to release Wolbachia mosquitoes. In response to these concerns, we have delayed the release of Wolbachia mosquitoes in a section of each community. We will continue our discussions with residents in these areas to address their concerns and answer their questions about our research.

We respect the views of community members and give each resident the option to be excluded from the trial, in which case we will not release mosquitoes close to their home.

We plan to release Wolbachia mosquitoes once a week for several months. As the Wolbachia mosquitoes breed with other mosquitoes, they pass the Wolbachia to subsequent generations through their eggs. The aim of the trial is to establish Wolbachia in the local mosquito population, which we expect will reduce the risk of local dengue transmission.

Pictured left: Mr Anto Sudadi, head of Hamlet in Kronggahan 2, helps the Eliminate Dengue Indonesia team release Wolbachia mosquitoes.