Ministry of Health: Wolbachia Bacteria Reduces the Frequency of Dengue Fever

December 01, 2023, 03.32 PM  | Reporter: Ratih Waseso
Ministry of Health: Wolbachia Bacteria Reduces the Frequency of Dengue Fever

ILUSTRASI. Kementerian Kesehatan menerapkan inovasi teknologi wolbachia untuk menurunkan penyebaran Demam Berdarah Dengue (DBD) di Indonesia.Wolbachia sendiri adalah bakteri yang hanya dapat hidup di dalam tubuh serangga, termasuk nyamuk.

HEALTH - JAKARTA. Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated that the implementation of mosquito technology with Wolbachia bacteria has successfully reduced the incidence rate of dengue fever in Yogyakarta.

"So (the implementation of Wolbachia) happened in Yogyakarta and why we are happy is because the approach is scientific, systematic, and structured. This Wolbachia bacteria is also in mosquitoes, so it's not something that's made up," said Budi in a written statement, on Friday (1/12).

In Yogyakarta, the incidence rate of dengue fever has been reduced below the WHO standard, which is 1.94 per 100,000 population data in July 2023 by implementing Wolbachia technology. WHO sets a standard for the incidence rate or morbidity frequency of 10 per 100,000 population. 

In general, the frequency of dengue fever morbidity is recorded at 28.45 per 100,000 population and the mortality rate is 0.73 per 100,000 population. These cases are dominated by the age group of 5-14 years. 

"Dengue in Indonesia or dengue fever in Indonesia has been increasing continuously for perhaps the last 50 years. So for the last 50 years, the government has carried out all kinds of interventions and programs ranging from larvicide provision, Mosquito Nest Eradication, carrying out 3M, forming Juru Pemantau Jentik (Jumantik) and the existence of 1 House 1 Jumantik Movement to fogging," said Budi.

Budi said, the research on Wolbachia-infected mosquito technology has been conducted for a long time. In his research, the researcher carried out all stages and did not bypass the process. 

The results of the Wolbachia Application for Dengue Elimination (AWED) study in 2017-2020 showed that after Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes were released, dengue cases decreased by up to 77%.

"It is very clear from the AWED study results that once Wolbachia is spread, dengue decreases. So in terms of data, science, and facts, it is clear. That's why the Ministry of Health is confident we will implement this (Wolbachia)," Budi revealed.

Next, the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) carried out the initial implementation of the Wolbachia program in 5 cities, namely Semarang, Bandung, West Jakarta, Bontang, and Kupang, and finally will facilitate implementation in Denpasar. The selection of these areas is based on the analysis of dengue incidence, population density, regional representation, and the commitment of regional heads.

Budi explained Wolbachia is a natural bacterium that exists in the bodies of some insects such as fruit flies, butterflies, and moths. Wolbachia cannot survive outside insect cells because it does not have a mechanism to replicate itself without the help of insects as its host. 

In addition to not being able to survive in the external environment of host cells, Wolbachia cannot move to other insects or humans, and Wolbachia is not genetically engineered by scientists.

Wolbachia bacteria inhibit the development of the dengue virus in the body of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This means that the ability of mosquitoes with Wolbachia to transmit the virus to humans will decrease. 

When Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with Wolbachia breed in the mosquito population, then dengue cases will decrease. The way Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with Wolbachia breed is if male mosquitoes with Wolbachia mate with female mosquitoes with Wolbachia, their eggs will hatch and produce Wolbachia mosquitoes. 

Then if male mosquitoes without Wolbachia mate with females with Wolbachia, their eggs will hatch and produce Wolbachia mosquitoes. 

If male mosquitoes with Wolbachia mate with females without Wolbachia, then their eggs will not hatch.

Regarding the spreading process, a bucket contains 250-300 mosquito eggs, with a hatching rate of ±90%. The number of mosquitoes to be spread is 10% of the mosquito population in the area. 

The spreading is done 12 times. This means that there is a release of ± 2-3 mosquitoes/meter every 2 weeks and is done 12 times.

Editor: Syamsul Azhar
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