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30 November 2005
Dengue fever is a virus spread by mosquitoes. Only a certain type of mosquito can pass on the disease. Its scientific name is Aedes aegypti.
PETER WHELAN: Around the world at the moment, dengue is increasing exponentially in some countries and there's a lot of deaths from dengue haemorrhagic fever so that's our aim, to make sure that we don't have dengue mosquitoes in the Northern Territory.
MELINDA JAMES: This is Aedes aegypti or the dengue mosquito.
The Northern Territory has been dengue-free since the 1950s but in February last year, routine trapping found the species in Tennant Creek.
Peter Whelan is a medical entomologist and in charge of the dengue mosquito eradication project.
PETER WHELAN: It was quite an unexpected thing to find Aedes aegypti here in Tennant Creek.
How are we going with the storm water drains?
MELINDA JAMES: Once a month Peter Whelan travels to Tennant Creek from Darwin to check the progress of the eradication plan.
These men have been working full-time for nearly nine months to rid the town of Aedes aegypti and the threat of dengue disease by spraying insecticide wherever water can collect.
PETER WHELAN: The eradication program is aiming to detect and stamp out every single Aedes aegypti that will be in this place.
MELINDA JAMES: Experts believe the Aedes aegypti mosquito was transported by road to Tennant Creek from Cairns.
When the species was first detected, it had already infested 91 houses in Tennant Creek.
Since then every house has been inspected at least three times and potential breeding sites sprayed.
Scientists say there is no risk of people in Tennant Creek picking up the dengue disease.
No larvae or adult Aedes aegypti have been found since late December.
But the eradication team isn't taking any chances.
PETER WHELAN: This environment's not receiving enough insecticide and so we need to be putting more insecticide into this particular area because there could still be some Aedes aegypti breeding in this site too so I'm gonna take these samples now.
MELINDA JAMES: The federal government allocated one million dollars for the eradication project but Peter Whelan says the program needs to continue for at least one more wet season.
If Aedes Aegypti is not completely eradicated from Tennant Creek, the disease-spreading mosquito could find its way to the tropical north where it would flourish.
Until the all clear is given, Tennant Creek residents are being asked to remain vigilant and keep a close eye on potential mozzie breeding areas.
Other regional centres are observing the Tennant Creek eradication project. If it's successful in wiping out Aedes aegypti, the same community-based approach could be used in North Queensland.
If something is increasing exponentially, the rate of increase is becoming faster and faster. Here’s a graph showing the number of people infected with dengue fever over time. The rate of increase becomes faster over time. This is increasing exponentially.
dengue haemorrhagic fever
Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a serious illness that can occur as a result of dengue fever. It can be fatal but it only occurs in a small number of people who catch dengue.
Notice that we write the plural of mosquito as mosquitoes. Like other words that end with a long vowel sound, when 's' is added we pronounce it 'z'.
more information: plurals of words ending in 'o'.
Aedes aegypti or the dengue mosquito
This is Aedes aegypti or the dengue mosquito. Notice that its scientific name has a capital for the genus (first) name and not for the species (second) name.
Grave concerns are very serious worries.
Example: We have grave concerns about the missing girl.
To be dengue -free is to be without dengue.
Tennant Creek is a town in the Northern Territory.
To eradicate means to completely destroy. Eradication refers to the act of getting rid of something completely.
An insecticide is a chemical used to kill insects.
in the meantime
In the meantime means in the time between two things happening.
Example: It's five o'clock and the train leaves at six. What are we going to do in the meantime?
To stamp out means to get rid of something completely.
Example: The police are going to try to stamp out crime in this area.
For examples you can listen to and more meanings of the phrasal verb stamp out, follow the link.
more information: stamp out
Infested means invaded or inhabited in large numbers.
Inspected means looked over or searched carefully.
potential breeding sites
Potential means possible and breeding sites are places where mosquitoes could breed.
catching; contracting; getting
Example: I picked up a cold at work.
For examples you can listen to and more meanings of the phrasal verb pick up, follow the link.
more information: pick up
Larvae are the young forms of any insect that changes into a different adult form. The singular is larva. The larvae of mosquitoes live in water and are are called wrigglers.
Here found is the past participle of the irregular verb find. Follow the link to find out more and listen to some examples.
more information: find
The all clear is an indication that a situation is no longer dangerous.
Example: The doctor has given me the all clear and I'll be back to work soon.
Given is the past participle of the irregular verb give. Follow the link for more information and to listen to examples.
more information: give
keep a close eye on
To keep a close eye on something is to watch it carefully.
Example: Keep a close eye on the cake or it will burn.
Mozzie is the informal way of saying and writing mosquito.
eliminating; eradicating; getting rid of completely
Example: It's impossible to wipe out all the rabbits in Australia.
For examples you can listen to and more meanings of the phrasal verb wipe out, follow the link.
more information: wipe out