New Delhi: After struggling to control the worst dengue outbreak in decades this year, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government here is now considering taking China's help in fighting mosquitoes.
The AAP government is mulling to send a team of experts to a small island in southern China where Genetically Modified (GM) mosquitoes are being used to reduce the population of dengue-causing 'Aedes aegypti' mosquitoes.
Although the scientific community differs on the effectiveness of the Chinese technology, the AAP government has decided to go for it.
Interestingly, Brazil and Malaysia have also tried out the technology to fight dengue.
GM mosquitoes are created to control dengue by reducing the mosquito population.
Male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are turned sterile by infecting them with bacteria and released into infested areas. Female mosquitoes that mate with them are unable to breed, and so, fewer Aedes mosquitoes are born.
Dengue is spread through the bite of female Aedes mosquitoes.
Ashish Khetan, chairman of the government think-tank Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC), said innovative ideas, such as the introduction of GM mosquitoes, are crucial to limit dengue, which has claimed more than 30 lives this season.
The number of dengue cases in Delhi has mounted to a staggering 10,683, making it the worst outbreak of the vector-borne disease in the national capital since 1996.
The deadly virus, however, had claimed over 420 lives, nearly 20 years ago, while the casualty count for this year stands at 41.
According to the official website of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), “During 1996 a severe outbreak of dengue had occurred in Delhi wherein about 10,252 cases and 423 deaths were reported.”
NVBDCP is the national-level technical nodal office equipped with technical experts in the field of public health, entomology, toxicology and parasitology aspects of mosquito-borne diseases.
The Health Department of Delhi government also says the current year is facing the worst dengue crisis after the 1996 outbreak.
"There is no vaccine for dengue and traditional methods to check the breeding of mosquitoes that transmit the disease have proved ineffective," Khetan was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
He and a few health experts will visit Guangzhou in southern China from November 8 to 11.