Disease surveillance & control
QIMR, JCU (in association with the Tropical Public Health Unit) and University of Queensland collaborators linked to USA, Thailand, Japan and Vietnam are developing a novel pathogen (Wolbachia) to shorten the life span of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti and prevent it from becoming infected with dengue or other pathogens.
Under NHMRC Program grant funding, work is expanding to other vectors such as malaria vectors Anopheles farauti (Australiasia), An gambiae and An arabiensis (Africa) and An stephensi (Indian subcontinent), plus Culex annulirostris in Australia.
QTHA is now well placed to provide expedited field testing and molecular facilities to experiment on the mosquito pathogen.
The establishment of a new tropical disease epidemiology group at QIMR will support a range of QTHA initiatives. This includes the evaluation of entomopathogenic fungi as control agents for vector mosquitoes.
JCU is also working with the Queensland Health dengue control program to develop ‘lure and kill’ methods to control dengue mosquitoes and stop dengue transmission while aiming to cut pesticide usage by over 90%.
The QTHA will expand this ‘green technology’ by developing a ‘do-it-yourself’ dengue kit containing biodegradable mosquito traps and a smokeless mosquito coil that can be used by the public.