New tool in fight against dengue fever
A DENGUE fever "dipstick" will help scientists detect the potentially deadly disease within minutes.
Researchers from Brisbane, Melbourne and South America have developed the new portable tool to detect dengue virus-infected mosquitoes.
The simple tool, which is described as a "dengue dipstick", works by having mosquitoes collected from the field ground up, a solution of antibodies added, and then the small device is inserted into the final mess of mashed mozzies.
If the dengue virus is present in the mosquito compound, a red line appears on the dipstick.
University of Queensland scientist David Muller said previously dengue detection had involved a lengthy process of collecting mozzies and bringing them back to the lab for analysis.
He said the new method could detect the virus within 30 minutes.
"It can give us real-time monitoring so you could put this information into a GPS device, so you would know sites where dengue virus infects mosquitoes," Dr Muller said.
"Health authorities can make decisions about whether or not to spray areas.
"It will allow for better mosquito control responses."
But it could be some years before the tool is available for use in the Far North.
"We’re looking to partner with local health authorities to do some local testing," he said.
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