Dengue mosquito control


Several years ago, at a meeting chaired by the then Prime Minister, Ranasinghe Premadasa, a discussion took place on the prevalence of Dengue in the country and the necessity to control the vector mosquito, the female Aedes aegypti. Since then there has been regular heavy ‘fogging’ of pesticides and clearing of vegetation said to harbour mosquitoes.

Regrettably, Dengue continues to be a serious problem. On the other hand, the enchanting butterflies, moths and fireflies and pollinating insects, such as honey bees, are far less abundant than they were some years back. Colombo risks losing its earlier reputation of being a ‘garden city’.

In this connection, it is heartening to learn that Associate Professor Omar Akbari of the University of California at San Diego and his associates, have reported in an article on the university’s website that their team has succeeded in genetically engineering the female Aedes aegypti mosquito to fight all the four known types of Dengue. Their work has been published in the journal, PLoS Pathogen. Sri Lankans working in areas of public health and environmental concern may like to keep abreast of these developments, and develop them for use in this country. Research on and adoption of genetic engineering for the control of agricultural pests would also be welcomed by the general public, in view of the currently expressed local and international opposition to the use of synthetic chemical pesticides in agriculture.

It is hoped the government will support such efforts.


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