Be a ‘Zika Mozzie Seeker’
Registration is open for Round 1 (Feb-March 2020)
We need your help to search for ‘Zika and dengue mosquitoes’ (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species – that have the potential to spread viruses such as Zika or dengue).
As part of the ‘Zika Mozzie Seeker’ project, we’re asking the public in our region to set up DIY backyard mosquito egg traps, collect the eggs and send them in for analysis.
The project uses revolutionary screening technology developed by Queensland Health and is a world-first for mosquito monitoring.
We will mass screen the eggs you collect for traces of the DNA of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. This will give us a better understanding of the distribution of these mosquitoes and allow us to plan for preventing future outbreaks of Zika or dengue.
How do I take part?
We are looking for Zika Mozzie Seekers to take part in Round 1 of 2020. Note: to take part you must live in the Mackay Regional Council area.
Registration details will be advised soon
What happens once I have registered?
You will be sent a free ‘egg collection kit’ in the post when Round 1 starts in your area, which provides everything you need (apart from a container filled with water) to create your mozzie egg trap. Also look out for project updates on this website.
What kind of mozzies are we looking for?
Zika and Dengue are largely spread by two foreign mosquito species (Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These ‘Zika mosquitoes’ have invaded other areas of northern Queensland, but we have limited information about their distribution in the Mackay region. This project will help us search for these mosquitoes to better plan for preventing Zika and dengue outbreaks.
‘Zika mosquitoes’ are now local species – they live in yards of houses and businesses and the adults are unlikely to fly more than 200 metres from breeding sites (commonly artificial containers that hold water). These mosquito species are not found in swamps and drains.
Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2019 (Observatory of Public Sector Innovation report featuring Zika Mozzie Seeker)
Queensland Citizen Science Strategy (featuring Zika Mozzie Seeker)
Mozzie Monitors (University of South Australia – participants trap mozzies and send photographs of the mozzies to researchers)
Zika Mozzie Seekers recognised in national Eureka Science Awards
The Zika Mozzie Seeker initiative was recently a finalist for the 2019 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science thanks to the valuable contributions of hundreds of Zika Mozzie Seekers.
This initiative was pioneered by Brian Montgomery at Metro Health South, and we are thrilled to continue this program in our area.
The innovative combination of citizen science, IT solutions and DNA testing is an effective early warning system for Zika mozzie invasions. It is a great example of Queensland Health combining forces with the community and sharing responsibility for an important health risk.
Community participation in this hands-on citizen science program is key to the success and sustainability of the project. These mozzies typically do not fly more than 200 metres from breeding sites (artificial containers that can hold water), which means we need lots of Zika Mozzie Seekers from across our region.
If you are a Mackay Regional Council resident, you’re invited to register for Round 1 February- March 2020).