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Pilot field application of Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) for integrated control of dengue vector mosquitoes

Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) has been utilized successfully to control mosquito-borne diseases in different parts of the world. After conducting more than five years of research, University of Kelaniya recently initiated a pilot trail for field releasing sterile male dengue vector mosquitoes with the participation of the National Dengue Control Unit.
Kidagammula Grama Niladhari division in Gampaha area was selected as the initial releasing point considering the geographical setting, human population density and close proximity to Gampaha town. High density of dengue vector mosquito species (Aedes albopictus) were reported during the last five years in this area. Mosquito eggs were collected from the same area and initiated a mosquito colony at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya. In the initial phase, one hundred thousand sterile male mosquitoes will be released weekly over three months period in a 30 hectare area. Mosquito density and number of dengue patients will be monitored for the next six months and based on the outcomes of this pilot trail, an operational trail will be strategically planned in the future.
Initial field releasing of the sterile male dengue vector mosquitoes was held in Gampaha on the 29th of March, 2021 by the University of Kelaniya in collaboration with the National Dengue Control Unit. Prof. Janaki Hewavisenthi, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Dr. Aruna Jayasekara, Director National Dengue Control Unit, Mr. T.M.R.Tennakoon, Director General, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board, other invitees and residents of the releasing area participated for the event.

Senior Prof. Nilanthi de Silva

Message from the Vice-Chancellor
Message from the Vice-Chancellor, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

It is with great pleasure that I write this message on the occasion of introduction of Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) to control dengue vector mosquitoes in Sri Lanka. This technology could be a powerful, cost effective and eco-friendly vector control tool for integrated dengue vector control programmes in the future. University of Kelaniya has given particularly high priority to research, with special emphasis on controlling infectious and vector-borne diseases. In this programme, University of Kelaniya is collaborating with the National Dengue Control Unit and the Ministry of Health to share knowledge and technical expertise regarding this technology.

I am very thankful to the Molecular Medicine Unit, Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Kelaniya for initiating this very important programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. I am confident that this technology will undoubtedly help to enhance control of dengue vector mosquitoes in epidemic areas in the country.

Dr. Aruna Jayasekara 

Message from Director National Dengue Control Unit

Message from Director National Dengue Control Unit, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka

National Dengue Control Unit (NDCU) of the Ministry of Health is the focal point for coordinating dengue prevention and control activities with other health and non-health stakeholders. Since it’s established in 2005, the NDCU has developed strategies and implemented significant amount of activities based on Integrated Vector Management to control and prevention dengue in Sri Lanka.

Today, with the improvement of the early diagnosis and clinical management of dengue, Sri Lanka has reached its lowest case fatality rate of 0.11 in 2020, despite the frequent outbreaks, increase in the endemicity level and the proportion of severe dengue fever.

As such, to bring down the high endemicity level and to minimize the outbreaks with sustainable vector control activities become the top priority at present.

It is a mandate of NDCU to facilitate, link and conduct operational research in the prevention and management of dengue infection. National Dengue Control unit already link with national and international universities for implementation of newest vector control methods as pilot projects in identified dengue high endemic localities.

It is my great pleasure to thank Prof. Manaka Hapugoda and team of Molecular Medicine Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, linking with NDCU to conduct Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) for integrated control of dengue vector mosquito in a selected site in the District of Gampaha as a pilot implementation.

National Dengue Control Unit is looking forward to a successful outcome of this new technique for public health, which can be used to control dengue vector in Sri Lanka in near future.

Dr. Aruna Jayasekara
National Dengue Control Unit
Ministry of Health

Institutions involved in the project

Main institution-University of Kelaniya

Faculty of Medicine,
Molecular Medicine Unit

Prof. Menaka Hapugoda,
Principal Investigator

Prof. Nilmini Gunawardene,

Dr. Tharaka Ranathunga,

Prof. Aresha Manamperi,

Faculty of Social Sciences

Prof. K. Karunathilake

Partner 1. National Dengue Control Unit

Dr. A.N. Jayasekera,

Dr. Indika Weerasinghe

Partner 2. Anti-Malaria Campaign, Head Office

Dr. Prasad Ranaweera,

Mrs. Jeevanie Harishchandra,


Technical co-operation – International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA SRL 5/047 and RAS 50-82)

Funding - National Research Council (TO 14/04)

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University of Kelaniya,
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Thalagolla Road,
Sri Lanka


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  • Last modified on ,22 October 2021.