Jakarta: Indonesia's National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) has devised a radiation technology to spray mosquitoes to control the population of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, carriers of dengue virus, to avert and lower incidences of dengue hemorrhagic fever.
"We use and develop this technology based on the general understanding that radiation causes infertility, and we use it to contain the population of insects," Totti Tjiptosumirat, Batan's Head of the Isotopes and Radiation Application Center, informed ANTARA here on Friday.
Tjiptosumirat elaborated that the "Infertile Insect Technique" is a radiation sterilization process that male mosquitoes are exposed to, so that after male and female mosquitoes mate, the resultant eggs produced will not hatch.
"We use this technology to facilitate the process of reproduction and increase the number of sterile male mosquitoes. When the males mate with female mosquitoes, they will die after mating, and the eggs laid by the females will not hatch. Consequently, the mosquito population will drop since no egg hatches," Tjiptosumirat explained.
Furthermore, Tjiptosumirat has made assurance that the radiation technology employed to spray mosquitoes was not harmful to humans since chemicals, including insecticides, were not used.
Batan will soon release the sprayed male mosquitoes into the wild. The infertile male mosquitoes will mate with female mosquitoes in the wild but not result in fertilization, so the resulting eggs will not hatch. In this way, the mosquito population will diminish.
The Infertile Insect Technique, developed by Batan since 2005, has recorded a very high success rate, with a 96.35 percent effectiveness in reducing the mosquito population.
Health offices in several regions in Indonesia, including Solo, Salatiga, Banjarnegara, Semarang, Bangka Belitung, and some Batan housing complex, have applied this technology. The two-year observation conducted in those areas indicated a decline in the number of dengue fever cases following the application of the technology.
"We are currently striving to work together with other health offices across the country to lower the number of mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever, by utilizing this technology," Tjiptosumirat stated.
The Infertile Insect Technique has also been submitted to the Ministry of Health. (Antara)