Port Vila, Vanuatu

Vanuatu has a long history of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue. In 2017, there has been up to 3,000 suspected cases of dengue in Vanuatu.

The World Mosquito Program and the Vanuatu health authorities have recently made a commitment to work together to pilot an innovative approach to protect people from mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya.

The initiative will be rolled out across Port Vila and surrounding areas in the next 12 months, with the support of government and local communities. The project is being funded and supported by the Australian Government’s innovationXchange.

The World Mosquito Program's approach involves releasing mosquitoes that carry Wolbachia, a natural and safe bacteria that reduce the ability of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to pass diseases between people. The mosquitoes we release breed with the wild mosquitoes, passing Wolbachia to their offspring.

The WMP is in the early stages of planning our Port Vila project. However, our focus will be on areas with a high risk of disease transmission. We believe that introducing Wolbachia is these areas will reduce the risk to the wider community.

In our other project sites, long-term monitoring shows that Wolbachia is self-sustaining at high levels in the majority of our international project sites up to five years after release. In areas where high levels of Wolbachia are present, there has been no evidence of local transmission of dengue.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact us.

Find out more about the World Mosquito Program's self-sustaining Wolbachia method.