Sydney University Department of Medical Entomology Westmead Hospital

Mosquito Risk Assesment &

Mosquito Management Strategy Development

Why are mosquito risk assessments and management strategies required?

Mosquito populations associated with constructed and rehabilitated wetlands in Australia have the potential to cause serious nuisance biting impacts but also pose significant public health risks through the transmission of arboviruses (e.g. Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus). However, constructed and rehabilitated wetlands can play an important role in local ecosystems by providing important habitats for native flora and fauna as well as reducing the impacts of pollution. Mosquito management strategies should be, where possible, complementry to the overall objectives of wetland management.

An assessment of the risks associated with current and future mosquito populations will be crucial for the development of approriate mosquito management strategies for both constructed and rehabilitated wetlands. The minimisation of mosquito populations associated with a wetland will not only reduce the potential nuisance-biting and/or public health risks but will greatly improve the amenity of the wetland and surrounding areas.

In some cases, mosquitoes associated from nearby habitats may cause pest impacts in and around a constructed or rehabilitated wetlands and it is important that such a situation is quickly identified to prevent unnecessary insecticide or habitat modification interventions. If a "mosquito problem" is identified, mosquito control in the closest wetland is not always the most effective course of action.

What services can the Department of Medical Entomology provide?

The Department of Medical Entomology (Sydney West Area Health Service) can provide a range services to assist the assessment of mosquito risk and/or the development of site-specific mosquito management strategies. Prof. Richard Russell and Dr. Cameron Webb have had extensive experience with mosquito risk assessment and mosquito management plan development in coastal and inland NSW as well as elsewhere in Australia and overseas. Their research has been published in peer reviewed scientific journals and results presentated at local and international scientific meetings. Prof Russell and Dr Webb are regularly engaged to make presentations to working groups, training courses and university programs to inform professional wetland managers and public health officials, as well as students and the general public, on current mosquito risk and management issues.

Situations where such services may be required include:

  • Constructed freshwater wetlands for stormwater and/or waste water treatment
  • Constructed freshwater or estuarine wetlands for wildlife refuge
  • Constructed freshwater or estuarine wetlands incorporated into urban developments
  • Water sensitive urban developments
  • Rehabilitated freshwater and/or estuarine wetlands
  • Land rezoning applications adjacent to mosquito habitats

What are some of the key projects?

The Department of Medical Entomology has been engaged on a wide range of short-term and long-term projects requiring mosquito risk assessment, mosquito management strategy development and mosquito population monitoring.

Key projects include:

  • Mosquito management at Sydney Olympic Park. The Department of Medical Entomology has been involved with the management of pest mosquitoes within the constructed and rehabilitated wetlands of Sydney Olympic Park for many years. The management strategies developed for these wetlands have been based on ecological investigations of the estuarine and freshwater wetlands and led to the establishment of an ecologically sensitive mosquito management program in 1998. This program has successfully minimised pest mosquito populations each summer without adversely impacting the local wetlands.
  • Hunter estuary rehabilitation project. The Department of Medical Entomology has been engaged to monitor mosquito populations associated with estuarine wetland rehabilitation projects in the Hunter estuary region of NSW. This large scale rehabilitation project is currently underway and the findings of mosquito monitoring is being used to better design and assess the strategies ofwetlands rehabilitation.
  • Development of the 'Living with Mosquitoes' strategy. The Department of Medical Entomology, together with representatives of local, state and federal government, assisted the development of a regional strategy for management of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease. Originally developed for the Hunter and Mid-North Coast region, the strategy has now been adapted to the Central Coast region. This strategy places an emphasis on an effective community awareness program that informs both residents and tourists of the pest and public health risks associated with local mosquito populations.

Can I contact Medical Entomology to discuss a project?

Dr Cameron Webb should be contacted to discuss any aspect of a project that may require potential mosquito issues to be addressed.

Dr. Cameron Webb

Phone: +61 02 9845 7548

Email: cameron.webb@swahs.health.nsw.gov.au

 

top of page