Tackling mosquito-borne diseases in 10 countries

Mosquitoes are prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas like the Pacific and Asia. This has led to a long history of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya in these regions.

In the past few years, there has been 30,000 suspected cases of dengue in Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati. In fact, the Western Pacific is the second most Zika-affected region in the world, with 13 countries reporting infections in 2016. Dengue is also a burgeoning public health problem in Sri Lanka. According to the World Health Organization, more than 82,000 cases of dengue - including 250 deaths – have already been reported in Sri Lanka this year.

Over the past few months, the World Mosquito Program has launched new research partnerships with the Australian Government’s innovationXchange and local health authorities in Sri Lanka, Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati. Our partnerships will deliver our innovative Wolbachia method to help tackle these mosquito-borne diseases. When present, Wolbachia reduces the mosquitoes’ ability to transmit mosquito-borne diseases.

“Dengue outbreaks place a significant burden on communities and local health systems in Sri Lanka and the Pacific Islands,” says Professor Scott O’Neill, the WMP’s Program Director. “The World Mosquito Program’s Wolbachia method offers a sustainable, long- term solution with the potential to greatly reduce the burden of mosquito-borne diseases in these regions.”

Our Wolbachia method has been welcomed by local governments, health agencies and community representatives in Sri Lanka, Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati as a natural, cost-effective and long-term solution to the burden of mosquito-borne diseases. With the addition of these four countries, we are now operating in 10 countries around the world. 

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