Wolbachia Mosquitoes to Be Released in Vientiane Capital in April

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Vientiane Capital to Release Wolbachia Mosquitoes in April This Year
Ms. Phoutmany Thammavong announcing the release of the mosquitos (photo: Pathedlao)

Mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia bacteria will be released in Vientiane Capital’s Saysettha and Chanthabouly districts between late April and September to prevent the growth and transmission of viruses that cause dengue fever.

Project Manager for Global Mosquito Population Control at International Children’s Aid in Laos, Ms. Phoutmany Thammavong discussed the process on Thursday.

She said that mosquitos carrying Wolbachia have powerful immunity that can combat various viruses carried by other breeds of mosquitos, such as Malaria, Zika, Yellow Fever, and others.

If a person gets bitten by a mosquito carrying any of the abovementioned diseases, the virus will not be transmitted because the Wolbachia bacteria reduces a mosquito’s ability to do so.

The initial plan, according to Ms. Phoutmany, is to release Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to over 30 villages in Saysettha and Chanthabouly districts.

This period will last for 20 weeks during which one mosquito release cup will be used in an area of 50×50 meters. Additionally, the technical team will monitor the results every two weeks during this period.

Residents can still protect themselves from mosquito-related ailments throughout and after this duration. This means they can still destroy the source of mosquito breeding but should not damage the project’s Wolbachia mosquito dispersal cups.

Releasing Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to a location where mosquito-related infections are high will allow Wolbachia-injected mosquitoes to breed with normal mosquitoes. This will result in more mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria that are harmless for people and animals.

One cannot distinguish normal mosquitos from Wolbachia-infected mosquitos with the naked eye except by taking mosquito samples for research in the laboratory, Ms. Phoutmay added.