City-wide trial to begin in Townsville

With government approval and community support, our first city-wide field trial will begin at the end of this month in Townsville, in northern Australia.

Our Townsville Community Reference Group, established earlier this year, gave its endorsement for the release to begin, recognising the wide support we have received from people across Townsville. We greatly appreciate the support of the local community, with hundreds of people already signed up to participate in the field trial.

The city’s first Wolbachia mosquitoes will be released using our egg release method in the inner-city suburb of South Townsville on 30 October 2014. We will then work our way across Townsville suburbs with the aim of establishing Wolbachia in the local mosquito population. The release area covers most of inner Townsville, with the initial release suburbs to include some of the city's highest-risk dengue areas.

We hope to show that we can efficiently establish Wolbachia across a large geographic area. If successful, we expect there will be lower risk of local dengue transmission in Townsville. With a population of almost 200,000 people, our Townsville research will serve as an important stepping stone to larger-scale trials in other nations.