CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Traces of the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti were found in Goomeri rainwater tanks.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Traces of the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti were found in Goomeri rainwater tanks. Jeff Miller

Council concerned after dengue mosquito found in Goomeri

GYMPIE Regional Council has said the presence of the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti in Goomeri is of concern after an inspection program of rainwater tanks returned some alarming findings.

Environmental Health Officers from Council and Queensland Health inspected 314 residences and of those which had defective tanks, more than half were found to be a breeding ground for the mosquito.

The dengue mosquito is the main type of mosquito that transmits dengue, zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.

"Presence of the mosquito capable of acquiring and transmitting such a virus in Goomeri is of concern and puts Goomeri at a 'moderate' risk of dengue transmission according to the 'Queensland dengue management plan 2015-2020' however, the surveillance work that has been done by Council to-date helped to identify the spatial distribution and density of this mosquito in town," a Gympie Regional Council environment officer said.

Council and government officers used new DNA technology throughout April, May and June to test unscreened rainwater tanks for the presence of the dengue mosquito, with 42 per cent found to have defective tanks.

"Testing was conducted using environmental DNA technology as opposed to the standard, labour intensive practice of collecting mosquito larva and examining it through a microscope," the environment officer said.

"Sampling protocol involved pushing 500mL of water through a filter that captured any DNA present which was then sent away for analysis."

There is now a plan in place to reduce the risk of the population growing.

Council said home owners should make sure their water tanks are adequately screened at the inlet and outlet (overflow), making sure there is no gap between the screen and the tank.

"The main objective of the rainwater tank inspection program was to reduce breeding of this mosquito in Goomeri by identifying and rectifying the defective tanks in which mosquitoes are likely to breed.

"This mosquito will also breed in smaller containers holding water around the home, so we encourage all residents to be pro-active and take necessary steps to reduce the amount of containers holding water in the yard. Wide Bay Burnett Region of Councils Mosquito Borne Disease Management sub-group is currently working on a regional strategy to address Aedes aegypti issue in the Wide Bay area."

Council said while they hold concerns about the dengue-transmitting mosquito, to-date there have been no reported cases of Dengue in Goomeri.

Dengue Fever is not directly contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person.