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      Surveillance of the mosquito Aedes aegypti and its biocontrol with the copepod Mesocyclops aspericornis in Australian wells and gold mines.

      1 , , ,

      Medical and veterinary entomology

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          A survey of the dengue vector mosquito Aedes aegypti was undertaken using funnel traps to detect immature stages (larvae and pupae) in flooded disused mine shafts and wells in Charters Towers, Queensland, Northern Australia. The town has a history of dengue fever since 1885 when goldminers were the first recorded victims. During the latest dengue epidemic in 1993, 2% of the population had laboratory-confirmed dengue virus Type 2, despite source reduction of Ae.aegypti breeding-sites at ground level or above. This led to suspicions that dengue vector Ae.aegypti breeding-sites might be below ground level. When surveyed in March 1994, Ae.aegypti immatures were found in 9/10 wells and 1/6 mine shafts. The water in wells and mines had similar characteristics-except that turbidity was higher in the mines, which more often contained predators of mosquito immatures. The copepod Mesocyclops aspericornis was collected from water in 1/10 wells and 2/6 mine shafts. Laboratory predation trials resulted in 95.5-100% predation by 25 copepods/l on Ae.aegypti first-instar larvae up to 200 larvae/l. Five wells containing Ae.aegypti in the survey were inoculated with fifty indigenous M.aspericornis, and five wells (one positive and four negative in the survey) were left untreated as controls. Nine months later, in December 1994, Ae.aegypti had been eliminated from all five treated wells but all untreated control wells contained Ae.aegypti, except for one well that contained a natural population of M.aspericornis. The role of wells and mines as winter/ dry season refuges of Ae.aegypti in northern Australia is reviewed, and we recommend the use of M.aspericornis as a cost-effective, environmentally acceptable and persistent agent for the sustainable control of Ae.aegypti, especially in inaccessible breeding sites.

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          Med. Vet. Entomol.
          Medical and veterinary entomology
          Apr 1996
          : 10
          : 2
          [1 ] Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Australia.


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