Amid the dengue outbreak in Bangladesh, a team of the United Nations is coming to Dhaka to conduct a feasibility study for the use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) in controlling the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads human disease viruses such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
The joint IAEA-FAO-WHO expert team will visit Bangladesh from Wednesday (Aug 21) and Friday (Aug 23), says a press release issued by Bangladesh mission in Austria Monday (Aug 19).
The IAEA has approved the expert mission due to an initiative taken by Bangladesh embassy in Vienna, with the support of the Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the Ministry of Science and Technology, after the dengue fever outbreak in the country.
As of Aug 19, official data shows as many as 54,797 people have been affected with dengue-related fever across Bangladesh since Jan 1 with 40 died from the disease, so far.
The work of the expert team - consisting of Rafael Argilés Herrero and Danilo de Oliveira Carvalho, Technical Officers of the Insect Pest Control Section at the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, and Rajpal Yadav, Scientist, Vector Ecology and Management, Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO – is expected to help Bangladesh tackle dengue diseases successfully.
‘We are trying to avail best possible scientific know-how to tackle the Aedes mosquito. We thank IAEA for prompt response to support Bangladesh in this time of need,’ said M Abu Zafar, Ambassador of Bangladesh in Vienna.
The SIT is an environmentally-friendly insect pest control method involving the mass-rearing and sterilization, using radiation, of a target pest, followed by the systematic area-wide release of the sterile males by air over defined areas, where they mate with wild females resulting in no offspring and a declining pest population.