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Jakarta to release Wolbachia mosquitoes in battle against dengue – Jakarta – The Jakarta Post

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he Jakarta administration plans to release lab-bred mosquitoes carrying the Wolbachia bacteria in an effort to curb the dengue outbreak in the city.

Jakarta Health Agency head Ani Ruspitawati said authorities were preparing to release the modified mosquitoes as part of a pilot project in Kembangan district, West Jakarta.

“We have not started the project yet. We’re still in the preparatory process. If everything’s ready, including the public, we will release the mosquitoes,” Ani said on Sunday, as reported by Tempo.co.

She assured that releasing the mosquitoes with Wolbachia was a new tool to combat dengue in addition to the decades-old 3M campaign of Menguras, Menutup, Mendaur Ulang (draining, covering and recycling water sources) to eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds.

Wolbachia, which was first identified by United States scientists Marshall Hertig and S. Burt Wolbach in the 1920s and 1930s, is a bacterium that naturally exists in in 60 percent of insect species but not in Aedes aegypti, the main transmitter of dengue and several other viruses.

Read also: Dawn of a worse dengue era

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When injected into mosquitoes, Wolbachia competes with viruses like dengue inside mosquitoes and makes it harder for the microorganisms to reproduce, thus reducing the insects’ ability to transmit them to humans.

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