Almost a million people—mostly children—fall victim to dengue every year. The simple diagnostic tool can be used in the field to detect dengue infection in large numbers of mosquitoes. It is developed by David Muller and colleagues from the University of Queensland and research groups in Melbourne and South America.
“Unlike other approaches to mosquito surveillance, this new tool provides information on whether mosquitoes are carrying dengue,” Muller was quoted as saying in the Journal of Virological Methods.
“It is rapid, specific, and does not require specialised equipment or personnel. This means it will be viable for use in developing regions of the world where dengue is a significant health and economic burden,” Muller said.
Around half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting the virus which is transmitted to humans through an infectious female mosquito.
“The goal of this work is to provide the tools to not only assess mosquito numbers in the field but also their infection status,” said Paul Young, professor leader of Muller’s team at the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre.
“This information could then be directly uploaded with GPS information via mobile devices to coordinating centres,” Young added.