Title

Bloodmeal analysis of urban Western Australian mosquito species for improved public health outcomes

Date of Award

2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

School

School of Medical and Health Sciences

First Advisor

Jacques Oosthuizen

Second Advisor

Jemma Berry

Third Advisor

Kerry Staples

Fourth Advisor

Jay Nicholson

Abstract

Ross River virus & Barmah Forest virus are the two most prevalent arboviruses in Australia. Bloodmeal studies assist in improving the understanding of disease transmission cycles, which can consequently inform disease mitigation measures. This study involved the capture and analysis of bloodfed mosquitoes within metropolitan Perth to determine their bloodmeal source.

Mosquitoes were captured by a combination of sampling methods using carbon dioxide baited light traps, completed by local governments as a part of their standard mosquito control programs, and by aspiration conducted by the researcher. The DNA contained within mosquito bloodmeals was extracted and amplified by Polymerase Chain Reaction using a universal vertebrate primer. The data from sampling was analysed to determine if there were any geospatial trends and to determine the implications for Ross River Virus transmission cycles within the Perth Metropolitan area.

Of the 21 bloodfed samples obtained 17 were found to have fed on humans, one on a crow, one on a common brushtail possum and the remainder were inconclusive. This study suggests that humans are a common source of bloodmeals within urban settings and may form a part of disease transmission cycles. It also further affirms the suggestions that Aedes notoscriptus is a vector of significance within urban areas. This study highlights the need for further bloodmeal studies to be conducted to better understand RRV transmission within urban areas.

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