The Pacific region has been affected by several explosive arboviral outbreaks in recent years. The mosquito responsible, the Aedes mosquito, is endemic in many of the Pacific islands and the risk of future outbreaks is high. The mosquito is the main transmitter of dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses.
According to Dr Craig, mosquito surveillance is important to identify, assess and respond to arboviral outbreak risks, however, capacity to conduct surveillance in many Pacific islands is hampered by logistical, operational and resource constraints.
"We are exploring whether a ‘citizen science’ model of mosquito surveillance in the Solomon Islands can help tackle Aedes mosquito outbreaks,” says Adam. “The study will recruit, train and equip citizens to trap, identify and report mosquito catch data to a central authority.”
Project results will provide insights into the risk of disease transmission and allow pin-pointed response activities.
“There is growing interest in this surveillance method and its use as a strategy to help address human resource limitations for surveillance in the Pacific and more broadly, low- and middle-income settings,” explains Adam.
“The novel citizen-science model makes it possible to collect more current and refined data on the distribution and prevalence of arboviral carrying mosquito species,” he says.
The project, ‘Citizen science for enhanced arboviral-carrying mosquito surveillance in low resource Pacific island settings’ is a collaboration between UNSW School of Population Health; Department of Entomology and Research, Solomon Islands National University; Clinical and Health Sciences, University of South Australia; Dengue and Arbovirus Unit and Medical Entomology Unit, Institut Pasteur de Nouvelle-Calédonie.
Adam and his team are one of four winning teams of social scientists from Australia, France and the Pacific of the program funded by the Embassy of France and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Winners of the competitive program are examples of the breadth and depth of social sciences links between a wide range of institutions in France and Australia.
Read more about the 2021 Australia-France Social Science Collaborative Research Program.
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UNSW School of Population Health