OXFORD, England, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Today Moscamed made the first releases of Oxitec GM mosquitoes to mark the launch of a new programme to control the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti in the town of Jacobina in the State of Bahia.
In previous trials Moscamed have demonstrated that, using the Oxitec mosquitoes, it is possible to rapidly reduce the number of dengue mosquitoes in a town. In the most recent demonstration in Mandacaru the level of these mosquitoes were reduced by 96% within 6 months and it was shown that this reduction could be maintained for many months including through the time of the year when normally mosquito levels would be at their peak.
The launch of the new programme came at the initiative of Jorge Solla, Secretary of Health for the state of Bahia, who is determined to reduce the threat of dengue fever in the region. In the first three months of 2013, there were 72 registered cases in this city of 48,000 people. There was previously an outbreak with over 1,700 cases and 2 deaths in 2012.
The Mayor of Jacobina, Rui Macedo said "It is a historic fact to be able to deploy this project to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito in our city. This research that aims to reduce the dengue mosquito population is extremely important for the public health of Jacobina. We are really excited with the results that we might achieve through this research".
Moscamed Director Dr Aldo Malavasi said, "The Jacobina programme represents the next step for us in the fight against mosquitoes that spread dengue. We have had wonderful support from the local community, local and state health and vector control officials and national authorities and experts and we are now ready to show that this approach can be used at significant scale to help protect people from these disease carrying mosquitoes. Over the past months we have hired 7 people locally to support the programme and anticipate another 30 new jobs."
The programme of using the Oxitec mosquitoes starts today. Releases of Oxitec mosquitoes will commence in the north west of the town and over the coming months it is planned to progressively control the dengue mosquito throughout the town. Releases will be made two to three times a week.
Supporting Moscamed, Dr Andy McKemey from Oxitec noted "The Jacobina programme marks a significant step up in demonstrating the efficacy and practicality of the Oxitec approach. Jacobina is some three hours from the main factory so careful planning of logistics for supply, release and monitoring is very important. But at this scale we will also gain a great deal of experience and information in terms of tailoring the control programme to different parts of the town in order to make it as cost efficient as possible. We hope that over time this will provide a lasting solution to the burden of dengue in Jacobina, which has suffered from a high case load in recent years."
About Oxitec Ltd.
Oxitec is a pioneer in controlling insects that spread disease and damage crops. Its products build upon the use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), an effective, species-specific and environmentally friendly method of controlling harmful and damaging insects. Oxitec's first products are for the control of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species primarily responsible for transmitting dengue fever, and Mediterranean fruit fly, one of the world's most damaging agricultural pests.
About Moscamed (http://www.moscamed.org.br)
Moscamed is a leading exponent of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), an environmentally friendly and proven technique to control insect pests. Moscamed provide both monitoring services and carry out SIT programmes for the control of fruit flies in Brazil. The trials are funded by Secretary of Health and Secretary of Science and Technology of State of Bahia