**16/4/2018 UPDATE: WA Health has generously contributed to the Mozzie Monitor project! This funding will allow my team of mozzie experts to undertake even more research and better detect disease risks present in our community.**
Citizen Science: trapping mosquitoes at home to better detect disease
I am Craig Williams, an Associate Professor in Biology at the University of South Australia. I am asking for your help with trapping mosquitoes so together we can better identify disease risks in South Australia.
You may think that mosquitoes are annoying and itchy, and they are, but they also transmit diseases and viruses to people and animals.
My team is able to determine which health risks are present in our community by looking at trapped mosquitoes and identifying the breed as each type has the potential to carry specific viruses, such as Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus. This is why the surveillance of mosquitoes is vital for managing health warnings in our community.
Current mosquito surveillance is restricted
Unfortunately, quarantine authorities in South Australia are limited in their capacity to provide surveillance due to the cost, geographical distance and resources necessary.
So I'm using a simple, plastic trap that can be set up in any backyard, school or outdoor area to capture mosquitoes. The more traps we have set up, the more mosquitoes we can capture and the better our health surveillance can be.
How can you help? Become a Mozzie Monitor!
When you donate to the project and become one of our ‘Mozzie Monitors,’ I will send you one of these traps to set up so you can monitor mosquitoes with me.
Please note, if you would like to become a Mozzie Monitor you will need to select the $50 'Become a Mozzie Monitor' perk option on the right-side of this page.
Then just once a week, tip the collected mosquitoes onto a piece of paper and send me a picture using a smart phone or similar. In our research lab, we will inspect your picture and be able to determine which breeds of mosquitoes have been trapped.
If any significant information or new breeds are identified, then we will send this information to the relevant authorities, including SA Health and WA Health, to investigate further. For example, if specific kinds of mosquitoes come in from interstate or overseas, they could transmit viruses like Dengue or Zika virus. Some breeds of mosquito hitch a ride on planes and ships and I need your help with detecting these exotic intruders!
We are initially starting the Mozzie Monitor project in South Australia but aim to expand this all over the country.
Together we can help keep South Australia safe from nasty viruses and diseases
I know that you are just itching to become a Mozzie Monitor! The more Mozzie Monitors we have, the better our health surveillance will be. So please get behind this campaign and share with your friends.
The University of South Australia is a deductable gift recipient. All donations over $2 are tax deductible depending on your personal circumstances.
Your dollar will go further! The University of South Australia has committed to boosting all funds raised by an extra 20% - but only if we reach our target. So please get behind this campaign and share with your friends.
To find out more about UniSA's crowdfunding campaign, visit: www.unisa.edu.au/crowdfunding and to join the conversation use #unisacrowdfunding.
Who I am
Associate Professor Craig Williams, leads the research effort at the University of South Australia’s School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. His own research interests include medical entomology, the epidemiology of infectious diseases, ecology and evolution.
The University of South Australia is working in partnership with SA Health and WA Health, and other leading health and environmental scientists and authorities, on this project.