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Backyard project could hold key to preventing Zika outbreak

8 October 2019

Families living in Brisbane’s South and Logan suburbs are being invited to take part in a citizen science project to help prevent a potential outbreak of dangerous mosquito viruses such as Zika and dengue.

Hundreds of free DIY kits are being sent out to registered residents this month as part of an early detection strategy coordinated by Metro South Public Health Unit. 

Project Coordinator Brian Montgomery said the award-winning citizen scientist program, Zika Mozzie Seeker, involves hundreds of residents setting small mosquito egg traps in their backyards.

“Families simply post in their egg samples and scientists use revolutionary DNA testing to rapidly detect if the species of virus-carrying mozzies have invaded our region,” Mr Montgomery said.

“We have tested more than 200,000 eggs as part of the ongoing project and thankfully, we have not seen any signs of Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito here.”  

He said effective monitoring and early detection was key to preventing an outbreak of mosquito-borne exotic diseases in South East Queensland.

“The project is about being on the front-foot of public health in a bid to better control the spread of deadly viruses such as Zika,” Mr Montgomery said.

Since the initiative commenced in 2017, more than 2,000 traps have been set in backyards across the Metro South area

“It is a great hands-on science project for children to be involved in and easy for parents and carers to help set-up with a free kit sent to participants’ homes and DNA reports sent back in return,” Mr Montgomery said.

“Children will learn how easy it is to monitor domestic mosquitoes and how to prevent the spread of mozzies at home.

“The more residents we can get involved in the project, the more effective our monitoring system becomes.”

Round 6 of Zika Mozzie Seeker is open for registration until October 15.

Residents living in the Metro South area - Brisbane’s South, Redlands, Logan and parts of the Scenic Rim are invited to take part.  

For more information or to sign up visit: metrosouth.health.qld.gov.au/zika-mozzie-seeker.

Last updated 9 October 2019
Last reviewed 8 October 2019

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