Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes to be released at 1,400 additional HDB blocks to combat dengue

The eggs of a female Aedes mosquito will not hatch after mating with a male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquito.

Charlotte Chang

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Published: 16 June 2022, 2:55 PM

An additional 1,400 HDB blocks will be included in Project Wolbachia from July 2022 to help combat the recent rise in dengue cases, announced the National Environmental Agency (NEA) on Wednesday, Jun 15.

Also known as the Wolbachia-Aedes Mosquito Suppression Strategy, the project makes use of Wolbachia bacteria to disrupt the reproduction cycle of Aedes mosquitoes to reduce their numbers. 

When a male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquito and a female Aedes mosquito mate, the female’s eggs will not hatch. NEA has gathered a population of male Aedes mosquitoes to inject the Wolbachia bacteria into before releasing them at the HDB blocks. 

The decline in Aedes mosquitoes will not only lower the number of dengue cases, but also other Aedes-borne diseases such as Zika.

Project Wolbachia has expanded!

It’s happening! 🥳 From July 2022, releases of male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes will be expanded to more towns and neighbourhoods in Singapore! This means additional 1,400 HDB blocks will benefit from the releases of male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes, bringing total coverage of the project from 19% to 31% of all HDB blocks in Singapore and more than 300,000 households. 🙌 These male mosquitoes do not bite or transmit disease. When they mate with females Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the resulting eggs do not hatch. This will suppress the dengue mosquito population over time! 👉Find out more about Project Wolbachia at #projectwolbachiasg

Posted by National Environment Agency (NEA) on Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Speaking at the Asian Dengue Summit in Singapore on Jun 15, Minister of Sustainability and Environment Grace Fu said that the results of the current release sites at Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Marine Parade, Tampines and Yishun have been “promising”.

These locations saw up to a 98 per cent decrease in the Aedes mosquito population, and up to 88 per cent less dengue cases.

The 1,400 additional HDB blocks will cover Bedok, Yew Tee, Geylang, Hougang, Punggol, Sengkang and Woodlands. This increases the total coverage of the project from 19 to 31 per cent of all HDB blocks in Singapore and affecting over 300,000 households. 

The weekly production of male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes will also be increased from two million to five million.

“NEA will continue to build in-house capability and work with our collaborators to further scale up our capacity so as to expand the project to more areas progressively,” said Ms Fu.

Individuals are still urged to continue practising personal responsibility by playing their part in reducing the transmission of the disease, such as by doing the Mozzie Wipeout ‘B-L-O-C-K’ steps regularly.

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