Eliminate Dengue Program establishes partnership with Sri Lanka

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Professor Scott O’Neill, EDP’s Program Director shaking hands with Janaka Sugathadasa, Secretary, Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine.

Today, the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that Monash University’s Eliminate Dengue Program (EDP) will establish a research partnership with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health to seek a long term solution to the dengue burden in Sri Lanka.

With support from the Australian Government’s innovationXchange, EDP plans to use its ground-breaking research pioneered by Australian scientists to trial the introduction of naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria to Sri Lankan mosquito populations. Wolbachia prevents dengue from being transmitted between people. It also has the ability to block other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya.

“Dengue outbreaks place a significant burden on communities and local health systems in Sri Lanka,” said Professor Scott O’Neill, EDP’s Program Director. “The Eliminate Dengue Program’s Wolbachia method offers a sustainable long-term solution with the potential to greatly reduce the burden of mosquito-borne diseases in Sri Lanka.”

Since 2011, EDP has been conducting field trials using the Wolbachia method. Long term monitoring has shown that when a high proportion of mosquitoes in an area carry Wolbachia, local transmission of the disease has stopped. Sri Lanka is the seventh country to become part of the program, joining Brazil, Colombia, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam and India.

For more information about the Eliminate Dengue Program and its Wolbachia method, please visit www.eliminatedengue.com.