Monitoring mosquitoes

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Gympie Regional Council continues to be an active participant in two Queensland Health programs monitoring the prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases within the region.

Regulatory Services Portfolio Councillor, Jess Milne, said that Gympie Regional Council’s involvement in surveillance programs were an important piece in the bigger puzzle.

“We know that cases of mosquito-borne diseases such as Ross River Virus, Barmah Forest Virus and Dengue Fever are more common further north of our region,” she said.

“But the type of mosquitoes that can carry these diseases are in our region too, so it’s important to keep track of how these diseases may be travelling so that we can take action as quickly as possible, if required,” said Cr Milne.

One surveillance program is the Queensland Peri-Urban Alphavirus Surveillance Program, which monitors common nuisance mosquitoes that breed in saltmarshes, mangrove swamps, creeks, lakes and flood waters.

These mosquitoes are monitored with the use of light traps housing a card impregnated with a special honey mix.

“When the mozzies get caught in the traps, they feed on the honey and their saliva is captured on the card,” said Cr Milne.

“The cards are sent away to a laboratory where Ross River or Barmah Forest viruses may be detected in mosquitoes’ saliva.”

The other surveillance program is the Rapid Surveillance for Vector Presence (RSVP) program, which monitors container-breeding mosquitoes.

These mosquitoes like to breed in places like your old tyres, plant pots and unscreened rainwater tanks. The presence of these mosquitoes is monitored by the use of Ovitraps.

This is a bucket style trap housing a strip of material to encourage mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Any strips containing eggs are then sent to a laboratory to test for invasive dengue mosquitoes.

Councillor Milne said that Gympie Regional Council is in the midst of the 2021/2022 program with council staff setting traps throughout the region.

“Our participation in these monitoring programs is vitally important so we can continue to contribute to the state-wide data, understand the movement of mosquito-borne diseases throughout Queensland, which may impact our region, and ensure that we can quickly take action, if required,” she said.

You can find out more about the programs by visiting https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/diseases-infection/diseases/mosquito-borne/resources.

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