By NewsDesk   @bactiman63

Sri Lankan health officials have reportedly taken steps to introduce Wolbachia bacteria into the environment starting in February.

Aedes aegypti/CDC

The pilot project is to be carried out in Colombo and Nugegoda. Bacteria are to be released in 25 Grama Niladhari Divisions around Colombo, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Health Dr. Paba Palihawadana said revealed at a media briefing in Colombo Saturday.

The bacteria will be introduced after years of laboratory testing and field testing.

The bacteria is being used successfully in 12 countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, the Pacific Islands, Vietnam, India, and Mexico.

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Government officials say Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes are bred and in partnership with local communities, released them into areas affected by mosquito-borne diseases.When Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry Wolbachia, the bacteria competes with viruses like dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever reducing the transmission of the virus to the diseases.

Sri Lanka has recorded more than 85,000 dengue fever cases in 2019 to date.