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Male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes to be released at HDB estates across all of Tampines, Yishun to combat dengue

SINGAPORE — In an attempt to reduce dengue cases, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will be extending its male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquito release programme to all Housing and Development Board (HDB) estates in Yishun and Tampines from July 27 and Aug 11 respectively.

The NEA in a press release on Friday (July 17) said that it has been releasing male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes in phases since 2016 and in this fifth phase of release, a total of 1,455 HDB blocks will be covered across the two neighbourhoods by March 2022.

The NEA in a press release on Friday (July 17) said that it has been releasing male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes in phases since 2016 and in this fifth phase of release, a total of 1,455 HDB blocks will be covered across the two neighbourhoods by March 2022.

  • All HDB blocks in Tampines, Yishun will be covered by the programme by March 2022
  • Dengue transmission reduced in areas where the mosquitoes were released
  • Upon completion of the latest release around 15 per cent of HDB blocks will be covered 

 

SINGAPORE — In an attempt to reduce dengue cases, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will be extending its male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquito release programme to all Housing and Development Board (HDB) estates in Yishun and Tampines from July 27 and Aug 11 respectively.

The NEA in a press release on Friday (July 17) said that it has been releasing these mosquitoes in phases since 2016 and in this fifth phase of release, a total of 1,455 HDB blocks will be covered across the two neighbourhoods by March 2022. 

Upon completion of the latest phase, approximately 15 per cent of HDB estates in Singapore would have been involved in the programme. 

Population control of the female urban Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is a vector for the dengue virus, has been successful in these neighbourhoods as a result of the programme, said the NEA. 

Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes are not naturally occurring. Instead, these mosquitoes hatch from eggs which have been injected with the bacteria wolbachia. 

Male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes are then released in the hope that they mate with the female urban Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, resulting in eggs that do not hatch since these two mosquitoes are biologically incompatible.

After a round of release of these mosquitoes was done in November 2019, more than 250 HDB blocks in Tampines and Yishun each saw a sharp dip in Aedes mosquitoes in the area by May the following year. 

Associate Professor Ng Lee Ching, director of NEA’s Environmental Health Institute, said that residents living in release areas may notice more non-biting mosquitoes around their homes, which might be unusual to them. 

"While this is something we are not used to experiencing in Singapore, the data shows a clear benefit to residents at the release sites. Significantly fewer female dengue mosquitoes mean fewer Aedes mosquito bites and less dengue," Professor Ng said. 

Although the programme has largely been successful, NEA reiterated that the initiative is not a "silver bullet" and it is intended to complement traditional mosquito-control measures, such as mosquito surveillance and the use of insecticides. 

Related topics

dengue NEA Tampines yishun

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