Better watch out for vector-borne diseases in Queensland

QIMR researchers Tim Hurst, Michelle Gatton and Michael Creevey have  been funded $132,500 by Queensland Health to further develop the VEDS (Vector-borne Disease early detection and Surveillance) System - a Queensland-wide web-based system for the timely reporting of surveillance data on medically important mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus.

"It is essential that we develop better information systems for tropical disease surveillance and control", Prof Brian Kay, Deputy Director of QTHA, said.

In Queensland there has been an increasing number of dengue outbreaks since 1990, with 2, 5, 11, and 12 outbreaks from 1990-94, 1995-99, 2000-04 and 2005-09, respectively (QHealth 2010).

"There is an urgent need to define the likely distribution of vector-borne diseases under future environmental conditions. To address these threats, Queensland Health would like to expand the VEDS System ( to allow local government end users to collect, store and analyse data on the mosquitoes that transmit dengue and to ensure notification data  for viruses like Ross River and Barmah Forest are analysed and reported in a timely manner", Dr Debra El Saadi, Queensland Health, said.

"We already have the analytical tools developed through QIMR's dengue vector control programs in Vietnam. These online systems allow health professionals to remotely track mosquito data on a large scale (more than 30,000 households per month)", Dr Hurst said.

"We aim to develop a system of field deployable, wireless data collection devices to enable rapid and secure collection of entomological data on the distribution and abundance of dengue mosquito vectors from throughout Queensland and to store this data centrally to form the basis of a risk and evidence based approach to the prioritised control of dengue mosquito vectors across Queensland", Dr Hurst said.

This project is headquartered at QIMR, collaboratively between QTHA partners, Queensland Health, Local Governments and other relevant parties.


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