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Published: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 8:33:36 AM

MPSJ’s toxo mosquito programme showing positive results in reducing aedes

THE toxorhynchites (toxo) mosquito programme initiated by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) has generated encouraging results since its introduction two years ago.

However, MPSJ said it would take more years to see the full results and a marked decrease in dengue cases.

The toxo mosquitoes, also known as “elephant mosquitoes”, eat other mosquito larvae, including aedes, at its larval stage.

It will also eat its own larvae if there are no other mosquito larvae available.

Adult toxo mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, and not blood, hence they are harmless to humans.

MPSJ is working with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) on the programme and received RM60,000 from CIMB Bank.

MPSJ deputy president Abdullah Marjunid said it would take a few years for the toxo mosquitoes to live and breed naturally.

“The mosquitoes were not genetically modified and they originate from tropical forests.

“We had several discussions with USM and sought advice from the Health Ministry, Environment Department and the Selangor government,” he said.

In 2011, the council chose an abandoned project in USJ 1 for the pilot project but it was cancelled when developers decided to revive the project.

Fly free: Marjunid releasing adult Toxo mosquitoes at the test area.
Fly free: Marjunid releasing adult Toxo mosquitoes at the test area.

There are two phases in the programme, the first phase will see a decrease in Aedes mosquitoes and the second phase involves the toxo mosquitoes breeding naturally in the area.

The council later chose Kampung Sri Aman, Puchong for the pilot project and 400 mosquitoes (200 male, 200 female) were released into the area.

“The area was chosen due to the high number of dengue cases recorded here.

“The council even held a major gotong-royong, involving the army, to clean up the area.

“It is also a suitable habitat for the toxo mosquito as there are many trees there,” he said.

Due to the encouraging results, MPSJ chose a second area, namely Sri Tanjung Apartments in Puchong, for the programme on May 16, 2013.

MPSJ officers released the toxo mosquitoes in the area following 15 reported cases of dengue between January and June this year — the highest number in the Kinrara area.

Hungry little bugs: Releasing Toxo pupas into an ovi-trap at Kampung Seri Aman.
The next step: Releasing Toxo pupas into an ovi-trap at Kampung Seri Aman.

Overall, the areas under MPSJ has the highest number of dengue fever cases. However, it has seen a decrease in November.

MPSJ Health Department director Dr Roslan Mohamed Hussin said: “The Sri Tanjung Apartments provide a suitable environment and the vegetation here will be able to sustain the toxo mosquitoes.”

However, he said among the problems faced by the council is the lack of public awareness, litterbugs and apathy from the public.

“Sometimes, when we conduct house checks, the owners are not in and we cannot enter to check for breeding spots.

“Some also do not turn up when we organise gotong-royong programmes.

“The common problem in residential areas is when there is a higher population of renters than owners occupying the units.

“When hygiene is lacking, it leads to mosquitoes breeding here,” Abdullah said.

He said high-rise buildings were among high-risk areas for dengue outbreaks, due to the density.

“We try to work with the Joint Management Body in apartments and distribute flyers to increase awareness on maintaining cleanliness,” he said.

Big bugs: The Toxo mosquitoes before they were released in Kampung Seri Aman.
Useful bugs: The Toxo mosquitoes before they were released in Kampung Seri Aman.

According to Abdullah, the one-stop coordination centre to combat dengue started operations in November and it is headed by the State Health Department.

“The department will assist with logistics and deploy personnel from other district or states.”

Aside from the Toxorhynchites mosquitoes (Toxo), the council will conduct fogging, larviciding, house checks, and increase awareness among the public.

Top six dengue hotspots:
1. Lagoon Perdana
2. Apartment Sri Jati, Pusat Bandar
3. SS19/1, Subang Jaya
4. Bandar Bukit Puchong Flat
5. Puchong Utama 2
6. Batu 13 Kampung Sri Aman
July 2009: MoU was signed between Universiti Sains Malaysia and M PSJ
Dec 2009: Cimb allocated RM60,000
2011: First project site: Kampung Sri Aman
May 13, 2013: Second project site:Sri Tanjung Apartments, Puchong

Tags / Keywords: Health, Community, Central Region, TOXO


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