AITHM James Cook University

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Mosquito borne diseases continue to pose a very real threat to tropical populations around the region, and as such remain a threat to Australia’s biosecurity.

AITHM’s entomology team, led by Professor Scott Ritchie, is partnering with Verily and the CSIRO to study the behaviour of male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in far north Queensland. The project aims to identify ways to reduce wild populations of the mosquito to prevent the transmission of disease, enhancing Australia’s biosecurity.

While the female Aedes aegypti is responsible for transmitting the dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses, this partnership focuses on understanding the male mosquito.  It involves a planned mark, release and recapture program to enable the research team to better understand mosquito populations, where they move and how far, and if they have mated during their release.

These male mosquitoes are trapped and the information used to learn about mosquito behaviour in an effort to control vector borne diseases, and protect Australia’s northern borders from the spread of disease. 

Professor Ritchie has also been asked to consult for the WHO and the Brazilian Government on disease transmission and prevention.