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CSIRO whacks Aussie mozzies

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CSIRO reports that one of the world’s most widespread disease- spreading mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti, has been suppressed by more than 80 per cent in a landmark Australian trial.

In an international partnership between CSIRO, Verily, and James Cook University, scientists used specialised technology to release millions of sterilised male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes across the Cassowary Coast in Queensland in a bid to combat the global pest.

CSIRO Director of Health and Biosecurity, Dr Rob Grenfell, said the results were a major win in the fight against disease- spreading mosquitoes.

“The invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito is one of the world’s most dangerous pests, capable of spreading devastating diseases like dengue, Zika, and chikungunya, and responsible for infecting millions of people with disease around the world each year,” Dr Grenfell said.

“Increased urbanisation and warming temperatures mean that more people are at risk, as these mosquitoes, which were once relegated to areas near the equator, forge past previous climatic boundaries.

“Although the majority of mosquitoes don’t spread diseases, the three mostly deadly types – the Aedes, Anopheles and Culex – are found almost all over the world and are responsible for around

17 per cent of infectious disease transmissions globally.”

From November 2017 to June this year, non-biting male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes sterilised with the natural bacteria Wolbachia were released in trial zones along the Cassowary Coast in North Queensland.

They mated with local female mosquitoes, resulting in eggs that did not hatch and a significant reduction of their population.

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