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RESEARCH PROJECTS

PacMOSSI: Pacific Mosquito Surveillance Strengthening for Impact

The Mosquito-Borne Diseases Group is leading a consortium of 12 institutions to enable more effective arbovirus and malaria vector surveillance in up to 12 Pacific island countries. The program will drive sustainable improvements in vector surveillance and control programs that will have broad impacts to improve regional health security. Activities are focused on building capacity to implement vector surveillance based on World Health Organisation recommendations. The consortium will strengthen existing networks to facilitate in-country and regional communication. A major outcome will be practical and actionable country-specific strategic plans to enable sustainable surveillance for control, containment and outbreak responses.

Key collaborators: World Health Organization, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Queensland Institute of Medical Research-Berghofer, Beyond Essential Systems, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, The Burnet Institute, Australian Red Cross, Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network, Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute, The Pacific Community, and the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network.

Funder: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Evaluating zoonotic malaria transmission and agricultural land use in Indonesia (ZOOMAL)

Infection of humans with the monkey malaria parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, is a serious and increasing problem across Southeast Asia. However, little is known about the geographical extent and ecological factors influencing transmission risk in Indonesia. The Mosquito Borne Diseases Group, in collaboration with Indonesian universities and institutes, will lead the entomological evaluation of the risk of human infection with P. knowlesi malaria in a range of ecotypes with different land use patterns including agricultural activities and disturbed forests in Sumatra. The burden of zoonotic malaria and transmission risk will be evaluated against land use factors, human activities, monkey movements and mosquito distributions. These activities will strengthen the ability of the national public health system to detect zoonotic malaria infections and to inform best-practice malaria control based on understanding the ecology of the vectors, monkey reservoirs and human host and will thus facilitate growth of the agricultural sector through a reduced burden of disease.

Key collaborators: Menzies School of Health Research (Project Lead) Universitas Sumatera Utara, Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit, University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia, CSIRO

Funder: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)


Strategies to prevent two viruses devaluing Australian crocodile skins

We monitored mosquito borne viruses which can infect crocodiles and damage their skins, resulting in economic losses. JCU Cairns trapped mosquitoes and monitored virus infections at a crocodile farm near Cairns and  transferred trapping technology to a farm near Darwin to better understand the natural history of the viruses and the risk they pose to the crocodile industry.

Funder: Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia


JCU Mosquito Trap Development

We are designing and internationally validating low cost mosquito traps for the surveillance of male Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, vectors of the dengue and Zika viruses. Trap prototypes have been successfully evaluated in multi-country trials in the Americas and the Pacific.

Funder: Verily Life Sciences


Protecting North Queensland from the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), an exotic dengue vector

Aedes albopictus, a documented vector of dengue, Zika and chikungunya, is one of the fastest spreading invasive species worldwide, and was first detected in the Torres Strait in 2005. This research is investigating the ecology, distribution and dispersal of Aedes albopictus on islands within the Torres Strait. This project includes an assessment of the feasibility of Attractive Targeted Sugar Baits (ATSB) to control Aedes albopictus. The research is determining the frequency that mosquitoes sugar feed, a parameter critical to the success of ATSBs. 

Funders: Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation and Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre


FUNDING PARTNERS

We are grateful for the commitment of all our funders, who enable us to undertake much needed research to improve the surveillance and control of malaria and arboviruses.


COLLABORATING PARTNERS

Our research program is highly collaborative and would not be possible without the commitment and support of our many research partners.