MOSQUITOES IN THE FIGHT TO ELIMINATE DENGUE ACROSS THE SHIRE
The Elminate Dengue Program is wrapping up across Douglas Shire, with hundreds of releases of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia virus over the last three months. Pictured is field deployment officer Angela Caird holding a batch of soon-to-be released dengue fighters, with environmental health officer Louise Stayte and Douglas Shire manager sustainable communities Paul Hoye.
DOUGLAS Shire’s smallest new residents are making themselves at home, with the Eliminate Dengue Program wrapping up releases of mosquitoes with Wolbachia this week.
For the last three months, the Eliminate Dengue program’s initiative has been working with the help of Douglas Shire Council to release a small number of mosquitoes across Port Douglas, Cooya Beach, Mossman, North Mossman and Mossman Gorge, as part of a groundbreaking program aimed at reducing the risk of dengue, Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases worldwide.
Field trial manager Dr Tim Hurst said results from the Douglas Shire project are showing strong signs of success.
“We are finding that most of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (dengue mosquitoes) in these areas now carry Wolbachia, which is exactly what we want to see at this stage of the project,” Dr Hurst said. “A unique aspect of our method is that it is sustainable, which means we expect to see Wolbachia levels continue to increase, and remain high into the future.”
“We feel confident that we will see similar results here as we have in Cairns and Townsville, where, to date, there has been no evidence of local dengue transmission in areas where we have Wolbachia at high levels in the local mosquito population,” Dr Hurst said.