Singapore plans to ramp up production of lab-grown mosquitoes to combat the spread of dengue fever in the tropical city-state. Dengue fever cases have risen sharply this year. Mosquitoes grown in the lab have a strain of bacteria called Wolbachia.
When mosquitoes carrying this bacterial strain mate with female urban mosquitoes, the resulting eggs do not hatch. Thus, the goal of cultivating these special mosquitoes in the laboratory is to control the population of naturally born mosquitoes to reduce the spread of dengue fever.
Singaporean Minister for Sustainable Development and Environment Grace Fu said that every week 5 million Aedes mosquitoes will be produced. This number is increasing by 2 million per week.
The plan was given the name Project Wolbachia. The project will cover an additional 1400 blocks in July on top of the 1800 already covered.
Grace Fu announced the expansion of the project at the Asia Dengue Summit in Singapore.
“Dengue and other mosquito-borne viruses are no longer just a problem of the tropics. Unconfined by borders or socio-economic lines, they will challenge communities around the world,” she said.
In Singapore, there have been 1,400 dengue fever cases this year. An increase in cases was observed in March. This is earlier than the usual dengue season from June to October.
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