7 Jun 2018

Dengue transmission targeted in Fiji's Western Division

11:27 am on 7 June 2018

The World Mosquito Programme says new funding from New Zealand will help protect two of Fiji's major population centres from dengue, chikungunya and zika.

The programme said $US1.9 million from the New Zealand government will be used to help fight the mosquito borne illnesses in Fiji's Western Division.

More than 120,000 people live around the division's towns of Nadi and Lautoka.

The disease-carrying Aedes notoscriptus mosquito

The disease-carrying Aedes notoscriptus mosquito Photo: Angus McIntosh

The director of the programme's Oceania Office at Australia's Monash University, Cameron Simmons, said the funding would allow the release of mosquitoes into the wild that were infected with a bacteria that renders them incapable of spreading the diseases.

Professor Simmons said once Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes are released into the wild, they breed with local populations, passing on the bacteria from one generation to the next.

"The evidence from our work in north Queensland is that we've not seen any dengue transmission in a community where Wolbachia has been established in the mosquito population. So we've got a really growing body of evidence that this is an approach that works and works for the long-term, potentially for many years and possibly even decades," said Cameron Simmons.

Professor Simmons said the control method is also cost effective as it is self-sustaining once infection has taken place.

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