Skip links and keyboard navigation

Primary tabs

Zika Mozzie Seeker

Project Status: 

Metro South Health is leading a world-first mosquito monitoring project.

The ‘Zika Mozzie Seeker’ project aims to increase our confidence that mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti species), with the potential to spread Zika or Dengue viruses, are not present in the Metro South Health region.  It is also one of Australia's first health-based 'citizen science' projects and a fun way for members of the public to get involved in a vital study.
Citizen scientists are linking to ground-breaking technology.

In year one, over 650 people from the Metro South region signed up to have a backyard mosquito egg trap at home, collect the eggs and send them to the Metro South Public Health Unit where they were sorted, counted and batched prior to DNA testing.

Project Manager, Brian Montgomery, from Metro South Public Health Unit, is using a world-first method of rapidly screening large numbers of mosquito eggs for the DNA of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The process involves batching eggs from many traps (10-20) into each test, enabling screening of many sites for Aedes aegypti faster and more efficiently. This DNA testing allows scientists to screen up to 5, 000 mosquitoes in one sample and easily detect if there is an Aedes aegypti mosquito in the sample. Previously, scientists had to painstakingly examine each wriggler or adult that hatched from each egg under a microscope.

Using this technique, it’s now possible to test the large amount of eggs that could result from monitoring mosquitoes in backyards across a large urban area, such as the Metro South Health region. This will give scientists a better chance of detecting an invasion, so populations can be eradicated before they can spread Zika and Dengue viruses.

EPIC funding announced in July 2017 has enabled an extension of the project for 12 months.   Two more rounds of trapping will be conducted (Round 3, Oct-Nov 2017 and Round 4, Mar-Apr 2018) to assess sustainability, with alternative strategies also being pursued to engage focal groups (e.g. school, community groups) and improve the Decision Support System that enables coordination of all aspects of participant and their data.

This project is a collaboration between the community, Metro South Public Health Unit, and Queensland Forensic and Scientific Services.

For more information, please go to https://metrosouth.health.qld.gov.au/zika-mozzie-seeker - "Can you be a Zika Mozzie Seeker?"

Evaluation/outcomes: 
  • Winner 2017 Metro South Health Board Chair QSuper Excellence Award
  • Winner of the 2017 Queensland Health Excellence Award for Pursuing Innovation
Lead Service / Stream: 
Keywords: 
mozzie monitoring, citizen science, technology
Last updated 22 August 2018