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Six Indonesian cities target dengue control with Wolbachia-infected insects.

22/03/2024

JAKARTA: The Indonesian government is using mosquitos infected with Wolbachia to restrict the spread of dengue in six cities, according to Imran Pambudi, the Health Ministry’s Director of Communicable Disease Prevention and restrict, as reported by Antara news.

“It has been running in five cities and has been expanded to include Denpasar,” he stated during a dengue-related talk show in Jakarta on Thursday (March 21).

The five remaining cities are Semarang, Bandung, West Jakarta, Bontang, and Kupang.

Wolbachia bacteria are found naturally in 60% of insects, and in the body of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, they can inhibit dengue virus replication, limiting the mosquito’s ability to spread dengue.

Pambudi added that experts from different nations have undertaken study on Wolbachia, and various scientific talks have concluded that the bacteria is safe to utilise.

He emphasised the low level of public participation due to a lack of information and the dissemination of myths about the Wolbachia approach.

On that occasion, he urged the media to share accurate facts about the scheme in order to educate the people.

In addition to Wolbachia, vaccinations are critical in combating dengue, he said.

There are now two vaccinations available: Dengvaxia, which is given to children aged nine to sixteen but requires an initial screening for serological status, and the Qdenga vaccine, which has a larger age range (up to 45 years) and requires two doses without an initial screening.

While dengue vaccines are still in limited use, they have been incorporated in regional initiatives, like as those in East Kalimantan in 2023, he noted.

Pambudi emphasised that dengue is still a health problem and a huge burden that frequently results in unusual events and deaths, both globally and in Indonesia.

He reported WHO as claiming that 3.9 billion people in 128 countries are at risk of contracting the dengue virus. – Bernama Antara

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