Help stop outbreak of dangerous mosquito viruses like Zika and dengue

APPEAL: The Zika Mozzie Seeker team are calling on residents of Redlands, Logan and parts of the Scenic Rim to become involved.
APPEAL: The Zika Mozzie Seeker team are calling on residents of Redlands, Logan and parts of the Scenic Rim to become involved.

FAMILIES in the Redlands, Logan and parts of the Scenic Rim are being recruited to set small mosquito egg traps in their backyards as part of a citizen scientist program.

The Zika Mozzie Seeker program is part of an early detection strategy co-ordinated by Metro South Public Health Unit.

The project aims to help prevent a potential outbreak of dangerous mosquito viruses like Zika and dengue.

Residents registered by October 15 will receive a free do-it-yourself kit enabling them to set a trap in their backyard.

Project co-ordinator Brian Montgomery said that more than 2000 traps had been set in backyards in the Metro South area since the initiative started in 2017.

"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."

Mr Montgomery 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.

"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.

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

Mr Montgomery said the more residents involved in the project, the more effective the monitoring would be.

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

Residents living in the Metro South area which includes 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.