JASIN: The Ministry of Health (MOH) will expand the programme of releasing Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to states that have seen an increase in dengue fever cases.

Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said the programme has so far involved 27 localities in four states, namely Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and Penang, and will be expanded to Sabah as part of dengue control measures.

“In Melaka, 300,000 mosquitoes have been released since March 2022, with Taman Bemban Jaya selected for this programme based on the criteria set by the MOH and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“In the first phase, the project used the method of releasing eggs of Aedes mosquitoes carrying the Wolbachia strain, and now it is entering the second phase, which is releasing adult mosquitoes with Wolbachia,” he told a press conference after releasing the mosquitoes for the second phase at Taman Bemban Jaya here today.

He said that for the second phase, nearly 100,000 adult mosquitoes with Wolbachia will be released, 10,000 per release, for eight consecutive weeks starting today.

On the impact of the mosquito release, Lukanisman said that no cases of dengue fever were reported from the locality in the 21st epidemiological week, demonstrating a very positive result.

“In addition to no cases being reported, the density of Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia has reached the MOH’s target of 80 per cent and the second locality in the state will be selected in accordance with MOH and WHO regulations.

“Therefore, monitoring will be carried out in addition to providing information to the community on a continuous basis so that they do not kill these mosquitoes, as it is one of the safest and most effective methods of combating the dengue outbreak,” he said.

Melaka had 385 dengue cases reported as of May 27, including one reported active outbreak, with a total of 15 outbreaks registered for the 21st epidemiological week, 13 of which were controlled outbreaks, one recurrent outbreak, and one hotspot. -Bernama