New facility to produce up to 5 million Wolbachia mosquitoes weekly in fight against dengue

Posted On Tue, 03 Dec 2019

SINGAPORE: A new S$5 million mosquito production facility opened on Monday (Dec 2), as part of the National Environment Agency's (NEA) latest efforts to combat dengue.

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, said Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor, who spoke at the opening. 

Dr Khor said that global warming and climate change would likely worsen Singapore's dengue situation.

"This is because mosquitoes breed faster at higher temperatures, and the dengue virus also replicates faster, allowing it to be transmitted more efficiently," she said.


Project Wolbachia involves infecting male aedes aegypti mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria, so that when it mates with a female, the eggs will not hatch. Male Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes also do not bite.

Project Wolbachia entered its fourth phase in November 2019, expanding trials to 284 residential blocks at Tampines West and Nee Soon East. Previously, phase 3 covered 144 residential blocks in the same areas and achieved a 90 per cent suppression rate.

While effective, Dr Khor noted that Wolbachia technology is not "a silver bullet for dengue control".

"Wolbachia is meant to enhance, not replace, our existing vector control strategies, which are focused on source reduction," she said.

Source: CNA/cc(rw)

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