Community takes the lead to tackle dengue

As we prepare for the next stage of our field trial in Townsville, we’re asking thousands of locals to join our team to help combat dengue by growing and releasing their own Wolbachia mosquitoes.

Since October 2014, we have released Wolbachia mosquitoes across 18 suburbs of Townsville, in northern Australia, and we have seen fantastic support from the community. People have been welcoming us into their yards to carry out research during this first stage of our city-wide trial, but we now need them to take the lead.

Our aim is to establish Wolbachia in the local mosquito population, reducing the risk of dengue transmission in Townsville. Early results show that our research is on track, with most mosquitoes now carrying Wolbachia across a number of our release areas.

While it will be some time until we have conclusive results, the key to establishing Wolbachia in the mosquito population will be having enough people involved. We are asking thousands of Townsville locals to sign up now to grow and release Wolbachia mosquitoes in their own yards.

We will provide each participant with a mozzie box containing Wolbachia mosquito eggs and food, and it will take less than a minute to set it up in a shady place outside. Over two weeks, the mosquito eggs hatch and develop into adult mosquitoes that fly into the environment, where they breed with other mosquitoes and pass Wolbachia to their offspring and future generations. A fresh mozzie box will be delivered each fortnight for approximately 10-12 weeks.

We hope to start this exciting stage of the trial in late 2015 in Kirwan, Mount Louisa, Heatley, Cranbrook and Thuringowa Central before gradually working our way across other suburbs of Townsville. We need more than 3000 people across these first five suburbs to participate and we can only begin once we have enough support.

If you live in Townsville and would like to participate in trial by growing and releasing your own Wolbachia mosquitoes, you can sign up now or contact the Eliminate Dengue Townsville team.