Dengue fever still poses a threat to the people of Yogyakarta with there being 623 instances in the first half of 2016. To address the problem, from August 2016 to mid-2017, the Eliminate Dengue Project (EDP) of the Faculty of Medicine at UGM will distribute the eggs of the Aedes aegypti mosquito to people’s residences.
“Since August 2016, and until mid-2017, we are distributing as many as 6,000 buckets containing Aedes aegypti mosquito eggs which carry Wolbachia bacteria to the homes of those people in Yogyakarta who are willing to participate. Hopefully, after a certain amount of time the Wolbachia mosquito will mate with local mosquitos and hatch eggs that will result in Wolbachia off-spring that will inhibit the occurrence of dengue fever in humans,” said the team chairman of EDP Yogyakarta, Prof. dr. Adi Utarini, M.Sc., M.P.H., Ph.D.
These remarks were made by the professor when the Wolbachia Aedes aegypti eggs were first distributed on Wednesday (31/8) in Sasana Wiratama Diponegoro Museum. Also attending the event were Vice-Governor of Yogyakarta, Paku Alam X, Director General for Research and Development of Higher Learning Directorate, Muhammad Dimyati, Head of Health Agency Yogyakarta, dr. Vita Yulia, UGM Vice-Rector for Research and Community Service, Prof. Dr. Suratman, and dr. Sjakon Tahija from Yayasan Tahija.
The use of the Wolbachia Aedes aegypti mosquito is the outcome of research conducted by EDP Yogyakarta, with the funding from Yayasan Tahija Indonesia. The mosquitos can inhibit the spread of dengue virus. Previously, the EDP team had distributed eggs in Sleman and Bantul using different methods.
Governor Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, in his statement which was read out by Vice-Governor Paku Alam X, said that he appreciated the programme as a solution to dengue fever which needs to be addressed seriously.
“I would like to welcome and support the implementation of technological innovation for inhibiting dengue fever through the Aedes aegypti mosquito with its Wolbachia bacteria. I hope this programme can be supported fully by the people in order that the spread of dengue fever can be reduced or even eradicated from our environment,” he said.
It is estimated that in the next few months, the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito will reach 60%. The Wolbachia research is also expected to offer a solution to other diseases such as chikungunya and zika that are also spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.