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Wolbachia project on track

August 20, 2019 4:15 pm
The Wolbachia Breakfast was organized to raise awareness of the Wolbachia method of reducing mosquito-borne diseases.

In a bid to commemorate World Mosquito Day, the World Mosquito Program held a free and informative breakfast at Suva’s Terry Walk this morning.

The Wolbachia Breakfast was organized to raise awareness of the Wolbachia method of reducing mosquito-borne diseases.

Wolbachia is a safe, naturally occurring bacterium present in 60 per cent of insect species, however, it is not usually present in the Aedes aegypti mosquito which spreads diseases like dengue, chikungunya and Zika.

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Project Coordinator for WMP Aminiasi Tavui says the breakfast was a way to inform the public on their progress with the Wolbachia method.

“World Mosquito Program, together with partners Live and Learn Environmental Education Fiji and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, that is, what we are trying to bring the public today just to create awareness. And for the people to know that there is a killer insect in the country known as Aedes aegypti that spreads zika, dengue and chikungunya. It’s about people coming together to learn more about the program we have.”

He says the progress of the method is promising and they’re in the process of releasing these mosquitoes in Nadi and Lautoka.

“We’ve completed one phase and that was phase one last year with funding from the Australian government – that was from Lami, Suva to Nakasi corridor and that ended in March this year. From April up until as we speak till date we are currently implementing in the West through the New Zealand Aid funding.”

Tavui says the Wolbachia bacterium is not harmful to people and although the numbers of Wolbachia mosquitoes will rise, people should continue protecting themselves and destroy any mosquito breeding sites they encounter.

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