SINGAPORE, 3 Dec 2019:
Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday (Dec 2) launched a new facility that can breed millions of male mosquitoes a week to prevent urban female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from producing offspring.
This comes in the wake of a surge of dengue cases in Singapore this year, with close to 15,000 cases and 20 deaths reported.
The new facility will allow the NEA to scale up Wolbachia Project by producing up to five million male mosquitoes a week. The project involves the release of male Wolbachia-Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to suppress the urban Aedes aegypti mosquito population – which is the primary vector of dengue, chikungunya and Zika here.
When the released male Wolbachia-Aedes aegypti mosquitoes mate with urban female Aedes aegypti ones that do not carry Wolbachia, the eggs do not hatch.
NEA said that over time, the continued release of male Wolbachia-Aedes aegypti mosquitoes is expected to bring about a gradual reduction in the urban Aedes aegypti mosquito population, and hence lower the risk of dengue transmission.
Speaking at the launch of the new facility, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor – who is also Senior Minister of State for Health – said the dengue situation is likely to worsen over the next few decades as a result of global warming.
Higher temperatures result in mosquitoes breeding faster and cause the dengue virus to replicate at a quicker rate, he explained.