Council’s position on Beating Buruli in Victoria – mosquito study

Published on 21 August 2019

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As a key partner in the Beating Buruli in Victoria project, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is committed to finding a solution to the Buruli ulcer, while also listening to the community’s concerns around the proposed approach to reduce mosquito numbers.

At its regular Council Meeting on Tuesday 13 August, Council discussed the ongoing Beating Buruli in Victoria project, including the proposed mosquito control study for areas of the peninsula.

Following this meeting, Council and the other research partners have resolved to consider alternative approaches to reducing mosquito numbers or avoiding mosquito bites.

Additional outcomes of the council meeting include:

  • Requesting relevant expert advice on alternative approaches to mosquito reduction, including ‘source reduction’ and an opt-in method for residents including different levels of mosquito control activity
  • Undertaking comprehensive community consultation on any proposed mosquito control program after expert advice has been received
  • Not taking a position on the proposed mosquito control approach until the above items are actioned
  • Requesting necessary resources from Federal Minister of Health to facilitate any alternative approaches
  • Not allowing the application of insecticides through fogging

Mornington Peninsula Shire Councillor Mayor David Gill said, “As a partnership, we are committed to working together to better understand the causes of Buruli ulcer, but we are also listening very closely to our local community who are concerned about the potential environmental impacts of the proposed approach to mosquito control.”

“We have heard community concerns and are undertaking measures to explore alternatives,” said Mayor Gill.

Lead researcher for the Beating Buruli in Victoria project, Professor Tim Stinear from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity said all the study participants were very sensitive to possible environmental impacts.

“We will continue to work closely with the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, cognisant of their wishes and advice,” said Professor Stinear.

“When we have a disease outbreak, we have an obligation to the human population to control that disease. What we are trying to do is balance the need to control a devastating disease while minimising environmental impacts.”

Professor Stinear said research partners will continue working to explore alternative options for mosquito control. This may mean mosquito control activities will not take place this mosquito breeding season. 

Other activities as part of the overall Beating Buruli in Victoria project including mosquito trapping and surveillance will continue as planned.

Background:

As part of the ongoing Beating Buruli in Victoria project, a mosquito control study is planned for parts of the Mornington Peninsula. The study will involve mosquito surveillance, mosquito trapping and mosquito control activities.

The study is being informed with advice from public health physicians, medical entomologists, council staff and research partners.

The Beating Buruli in Victoria project aims to disrupt the transmission of Buruli ulcer and lead to evidence-based policies and guidelines to help stop its spread.

The project is being conducted through a collaborative partnership between the Doherty Institute, Barwon Health, Austin Health, CSIRO, Agribio, the University of Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula Shire, and Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information about the project please visit www2.health.vic.gov.au/beatingburuli