Deadly threat bangs at Queensland's door

Deadly threat bangs at Queensland's door
Aedes albopictus female mosquito. Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Scientists at The University of Queensland have identified a deadly threat lurking just 30 kilometres north of Queensland.

Researcher Dr Nigel Beebe said established populations of the dangerous Asian tiger mosquito had been found on the Torres Strait islands of Waiben (Thursday) and Ngurupia Horn), in the southern Torres Strait, just off Cape York Peninsula.

"This exotic mosquito is banging on our northern door demanding entrance and is most likely, despite our increasing efforts, to gain access."

He said there was no clearly marked frontier between Papua New Guinea and northern Australia, and it was difficult to ensure that people and boats were not accompanied by mosquitos carrying such as dengue and chikungunya.

"Once on the mainland, the Asian tiger mosquito is highly capable of travelling with humans and establishing as far south as Tasmania," Dr Beebe said.

"It is capable of transmitting both dengue and chikungunya throughout northern and southern urban landscapes in the summer months," he said.

"We need to be completely on the front foot here, aggressively developing technologies to shut down the risk of an Asian tiger mosquito expansion into Australia, while establishing contingency plans for its arrival."

Dr Beebe led a team of UQ researchers which quantified the of the tiger mosquito and found it did not come from PNG, as first thought, but from the Indonesian region, and most likely through illegal fishing in the region.

The study, published in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, found that there were already regular appearances of the Asian tiger mosquito at Australia's northern mainland ports, with boat travel between the islands being the most likely cause.

"With climate change, and the potential invasion of the tiger mosquito into our , the risk of dengue and chikungunya is likely to increase in Australia, due to changing temperatures as well as the increased use of rain water tanks and other water storage facilities," Dr Beebe said.

More information: www.plosntds.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002361

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dengue fever makes deadly comeback in Greece

Sep 04, 2012

An elderly Greek man has died from complications of dengue fever, marking a reappearance of the mosquito-borne disease 85 years after its eradication from Greece, officials said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

8 hours ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

Apr 18, 2014

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

Apr 18, 2014

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Apr 18, 2014

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

Apr 18, 2014

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments