Saturday, 08 May 2021

Sri Lanka’s First Release of Sterile Male Aedes Mosquitoes for Integrated Control of Dengue

Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) has been utilized successfully to control mosquito-borne diseases in different parts of the world.

After conducting more than five years of research, University of Kelaniya recently initiated a pilot trail for field releasing sterile male dengue vector mosquitoes with the participation of the National Dengue Control Unit. Initial field releasing of the sterile male dengue vector mosquitoes was held in Gampaha on the 29th of March, 2021 by the University of Kelaniya in collaboration with the National Dengue Control Unit.

Kidagammula Grama Niladhari Division in Gampaha District was selected as the initial releasing point considering the geographical setting, human population density and close proximity to Gampaha town. High density of dengue vector mosquito species (Aedes albopictus) was reported during the last five years in this area. Mosquito eggs were collected from the same area and initiated a mosquito colony at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya. In the initial phase, one hundred thousand sterile male mosquitoes will be released weekly over three months period in a 30-hectare area. Mosquito density and number of dengue patients will be monitored for the next six months and based on the outcomes of this pilot trail, an operational trail will be strategically planned in the future.

Cadre Chair and Senior Prof. Janaki Hewavisenthi, Dean- Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Dr. Aruna Jayasekara, Director- National Dengue Control Unit, Mr. T. M. R. Tennakoon, Director General- Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board, other invitees and residents of the releasing area participated for the event.


Members of the project team include Prof. Menaka Hapugoda- Principal Investigator, Prof. Nilmini Gunawardene- Co-investigator, Dr. Tharaka Ranathunga- Co-investigator, Prof. Aresha Manamperi- Facilitator, Molecular Medicine Unit, Faculty of Medicine and Senior Prof. K. Karunathilake of the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Kelaniya. University of Kelaniya is collaborating with Dr. A. N. Jayasekera, Director and Dr. Indika Weerasinghe of the National Dengue Control Unit; Dr. Prasad Ranaweera, Director and Mrs. Jeevanie Harishchandra, Entomologist of the Anti-Malaria Campaign, in the relevant partner institutions of the project. This study is funded by the National Research Council (TO 14/04) and technical co-operation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA SRL 5/047 and RAS 50-82).


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