Bacteria to be released to fight dengue virus

The National Dengue Control Unit will introduce a particular bacteria-laden mosquito to control the spread of dengue, in February, officials told reporters today Dec 30.

Director of National Dengue Control Unit Dr Anura Jayasekara said that mosquitos infected with the Wolbachia bacteria which has the ability to block the spread of the dengue virus will be released as a pilot project in February 2020.

Jayasekara said when mosquitos infected with this bacteria mate with the dengue mosquitos they will be unable to spread the dengue virus.

Further, he said bacteria will not have any harmful effect on humans as the same bacteria is found on 60 per cent of insects in Sri Lanka and once the bacteria enters one mosquito it will spread to the next generation through the eggs.

He also said that this method or fighting the dengue virus has been very successful in Australia and 12 other countries in the world.

“This could even lead to Sri Lanka being free from dengue virus in the future,” he added.

Moreover, Dr Jayasekara as a result of discussions held with the Consumer Affairs Authority they were able to decide on maximum prices for the Full Blood Count and NS1 reports which are essential for diagnosing dengue.

“To ensure that private laboratories cannot charge different prices for these test reports, a relevant gazette regarding the maximum price will be issued shortly,” he added

He said that a total of 96,000 dengue cases have been reported over the year with 90 deaths. He added that there has been an increase in dengue cases from August to November as the conditions for the breeding of Dengue mosquitos were better.

Another reason he said for the increase of dengue cases might have been the unavailability of the tri-forces after the Easter Sunday attacks till December to do the routine cleaning process although health workers and volunteers did the job it might not have been sufficient.

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