in october 2020, Wolbacchia was already showing particularly encouraging signs of success. Today, during a report made public, the findings are in: the vast majority of mosquitoes are carriers of Wolbachia bacteria and no dengue epidemic has been denounced since the program began.
The Global Mosquito Program, which began in 2016, led to the release of the first Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, commonly known as the tiger mosquito, carrying Wolbachia in 2018.
Since then, more than 12 million mosquitoes carrying the bacteria have been released into and around Noumea, where the program is conducting trials.
The southern county is particularly satisfied, even if angry: “It will still be a few months necessary for the proportion of Wolbachia mosquitoes to become optimal in areas where mosquito densities are naturally high.”
Indeed, the results are in: for comparison, between 1,000 and 1,500 cases of dengue were recorded in 2018 and 2019, compared to only 52 in 2021.
On the occasion of the public presentation of the report, Nadig Rossi, local project leader for the Global Mosquito Program, was in front of the microphone of our colleagues from Caledonia.nc. “We have a network of clues that allows us to see that it is working. We only had one outbreak in Noumea, which is very rare, but we still need time to really assess the situation”.
The success now makes it possible to consider extending the program beyond Noumea:
“We plan to expand to the municipalities of Doumbia and Mont-Dor, primarily in the densest neighborhoods. We are in the process of signing agreements, so the work is well advanced with these municipalities, so we hope to be able to start at the end of the year”.
Based on this observation, Arnaud Cannet, an entomologist at the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DASS), plans to expand the program to the rest of the territory: Obviously we’re expanding to other municipalities in the Territory, Northern Territory, Loyalty Islands … very quickly, we can’t, so things will get done step by step, but obviously the strategy is to allow as many municipalities as possible in the coming years To spread Wolbachia to the ground”.
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