by Shanika Sriyananda | Sunday Observer
A team of medical experts will soon fly to Cuba to study its methods, including the effectiveness of ‘Bacillus thuringien’ (BT) bacteria, used by Cuba in eradicating dengue mosquito menace, Health and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told the ‘sunday Observer’, yesterday.
He said that the team would explore the possibilities of using the same methods in destroying breeding places. “The Cuban larvae had been applied to large water containers but we do not have such large water containers and cannot apply the said bacteria to each and every small yoghurt cup and small water patches on polythene bags in garbage dumps here”, he said.
According to the Minister, the team would thoroughly study long-term methods, such as introducing lessons about mosquito breeding places and ways of elimination into school curriculum and door-to-door awareness campaigns, implemented by the Cuban government. Massive public awareness campaigns resulted immensely in weeding off the mosquitoes successfully”, Minister de Silva pointed out.
“Strong public commitment in cleaning mosquito breeding places helped Cuba to win the battle”, he said.
Meanwhile, Colombo Municipal Council Chief Medical Officer said that they had successfully destroyed mosquito larvae in marshy lands within the Colombo City by using an American BT - ‘vectobac’. Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that this bacteria, had proved effective in killing dengue mosquito larvae. According to Dr. Kariyawasam, the BT can only be applied to mosquitoes in large marshy lands, parks and bare lands and is not recommended for residential areas.
“At the same time we tested a Sri Lankan bacteria developed by the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) and we are assessing it also”, he added. When contacted Prof, Tissa Vitarana, Minister of Science and Technology said that the Cuban BT was highly effective in eliminating dengue mosquitos but stressed the need of public commitment in eradicating the menace.
“Some years ago Sri Lanka applied the same Cuban BT for mosquitos and it proved effective. But this cannot be used in residential areas and is applicable only in large areas like marshy lands”, he added.