Mozzie master class abuzz

Medical and health professionals, scientists, students, and vector-borne disease program managers will attend a master class in dengue and malaria at James Cook University in Cairns next week (26-30 September).

Presented by JCU and Queensland Tropical Health Alliance (QTHA) researchers Professor Scott Ritchie and Professor Tom Burkot, the five-day master class will include learning how to trap mosquitoes using state-of-the-art equipment and discussing ways to control and manage of dengue and malaria.

Professor Tom Burkot said the master class was designed for professionals from the Asia-Pacific Region where mosquito-borne diseases are responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Participants are from Palau, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

"To beat mosquito-borne disease you need to know your mosquitoes," said medical entomologist Professor Scott Ritchie. "Understanding the biology and ecology of the mosquitoes that transit these diseases is critical to protecting human populations in the tropics."

Professor Ross Spark, Head of the School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences and part of QTHA, said the master class was the first in a series planned for JCU Cairns.

"This master class is precisely the sort of activity that will help fulfil the vision of the Cairns Economic Development Plan positioning Cairns as a gateway to PNG and the Pacific Rim and meeting one of the aims of TropLinks - export of Australia's tropical expertise to the world," Professor Spark said.

"This is an opportunity to work with prominent medical entomologists who are experts on two of the most destructive mosquito-borne diseases of the tropical world, dengue and malaria," he said.

Professor Scott Ritchie is part of the Eliminate Dengue program, which has successfully trialled the introduction of Wolbachia bacteria into wild populations of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue. The bacteria reduce the ability of these mosquitoes to transmit the virus.

Professor Tom Burkot, an eminent vector biologist, is orchestrating the global Vector Ecology and Control Network (VECNet) to help in the eradication of malaria. The VECNet project will create a digital library, a model integration platform and four web-based tools to allow spatial analysis, on a global scale, of the impact of malaria interventions and the potential impacts of new malaria control strategies (when used alone or in combination with other strategies) on the transmission of malaria.

The master class, Medical entomology: mosquito-borne diseases of the tropical world, will be held at JCU in Smithfield from Monday 26 to Friday 30 September.

Information for media:

Professor Scott Ritchie and Professor Tom Burkot and some of the master class participants will be available for interview 10.30-11.00am on Monday 26 September in the first floor foyer of the Dentistry School, at James Cook University in Smithfield.

To get to the Dentistry School enter the campus from McGregor Rd, take the first turn right, drive to the end of that car park, towards the green building.

To avoid an encounter with our parking officers, please make sure your vehicle is clearly marked as media.

For further information please contact:

Linden Woodward 04 1979 1564



web design by precedence