As the number of dengue fever cases in Sri Lanka barrels toward 100,000 cases in 2017 to date, the country will be getting help in the battle against the potentially deadly mosquito borne viral disease from Australia.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop said she joined Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Karunanayake to announce the Australian Government will provide life-saving support through the World Health Organization (WHO).

Australia’s $500,000 contribution to WHO will support the implementation of a comprehensive Dengue Prevention and Control Plan to enhance hospital triage and case management, cleaning, public awareness and surveillance systems.

In addition, also launched was the Australian Government’s partnership between Monash University’s Eliminate Dengue Program and Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health to reduce the incidence of dengue in Sri Lanka.

Monash University’s Eliminate Dengue Program is pioneering the use of the Wolbachia bacteria to reduce rates of dengue infection.  Wolbachia prevents the dengue virus being transmitted between people, and it has a similar effect on other viruses such as zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.

The Australian Government’s $1 million contribution to the Eliminate Dengue Program in Sri Lanka was brokered by the innovationXchange, established within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to improve the effectiveness and impact of the Australian aid program.

Through July 19, the Sri Lanka Health Ministry has reported 97,125 dengue fever cases.

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