The World Mosquito Program is working in Sri Lanka, where dengue is an increasing health concern, as well as other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya. The World Health Organization reports that in 2017 dengue cases were more than triple the average for the same period between 2010 and 2016.
In July 2017, the World Mosquito Program (WMP) established a research partnership with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine to examine new, more effective ways to protect communities from mosquito-borne diseases. Our project in Sri Lanka is being established across three sites in the Colombo area, with the first mosquito releases to take place in 2019.
Supported by the Australian Government’s innovationXchange, the primary goal of this project is to pilot the implementation of our Wolbachia method in Sri Lanka. If successful, it could serve as a model for future large-scale implementation as a low-cost and self-sustaining method for the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
The WMP’s Wolbachia method is not an emergency measure, but rather a long-term, self-sustaining solution to reducing mosquito-borne diseases. It is compatible with other methods such as insecticides and vaccines.
Since 2011, the WMP has been conducting field trials using our Wolbachia method around the world. Long-term monitoring shows that Wolbachia is self-sustaining at high levels in the majority of our international project sites up to seven years after release. In areas where high levels of Wolbachia are present, we have not seen any dengue outbreaks.
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