Volume 95, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The most common causes of human infection from the arboviruses that are endemic in Australia are the arthritogenic alphaviruses: Ross River virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest virus (BFV). The most serious infections are caused by the neurotropic flaviviruses, Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) and the Kunjin subtype of West Nile virus. The greatest individual risk of arbovirus infection occurs in tropical/subtropical northern Australia because of the warm, wet summer conditions from December to June, where conventional arbovirus surveillance is difficult due to a combination of low population density, large distances between population centers, poor roads, and seasonal flooding. Furthermore, virus detection requires samples to be sent to Perth up to 2,000 km away for definitive analysis, causing delays of days to weeks before test results are available and public health interventions can be started. We deployed a portable molecular biology laboratory for remote field detection of endemic arboviruses in northern Queensland, then in tropical Western Australia and detected BFV, MVEV, and RRV RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays of extracts from mosquitoes trapped in Queensland. We then used a field-portable compact real-time thermocycler for the samples collected in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Real-time field PCR assays enabled concurrent endemic arbovirus distribution mapping in outback Queensland and Western Australia. Our deployable laboratory method provides a concept of operations for future remote area arbovirus surveillance.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Mackenzie JS, Lindsay MD, Coelen RJ, Broom AK, Hall RA, Smith DW, , 1994. Arboviruses causing human disease in the Australasian zoogeographic region. Arch Virol 136: 447467.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  2. Smith DW, Speers DJ, Mackenzie JS, , 2011. The viruses of Australia and the risk to tourists. Travel Med Infect Dis 9: 113125.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  3. Wright P, Fitzsimmons GJ, Johansen CA, Whelan PI, National Arbovirus and Malaria Advisory Committee, , 2012. Arboviral diseases and malaria in Australia, 2009–10: annual report of the National Arbovirus and Malaria Advisory Committee. Commun Dis Intell Q Rep 36: 7081. [Google Scholar]
  4. Spencer JD, Azoulas J, Broom AK, Buick TD, Currie B, Daniels PW, Doggett SL, Hapgood GD, Jarrett PJ, Lindsay MD, Lloyd G, Mackenzie JS, Merianos A, Moran RJ, Ritchie SA, Russell RC, Smith DW, Stenhouse FO, Whelan PI, , 2001. Murray Valley encephalitis virus surveillance and control initiatives in Australia: a report on behalf of National Arbovirus Advisory Committee of the Communicable Diseases Network Australia. Commun Dis Intell Q Rep 25: 3347. [Google Scholar]
  5. Broom AK, Whelan PL, , 2005. Sentinel chicken surveillance programme in Australia, July 2003 to June 2004. Commun Dis Intell Q Rep 29: 6570. [Google Scholar]
  6. Inglis TJ, Levy A, Merritt AJ, Hodge M, McDonald R, Woods DE, , 2009. Melioidosis risk in a tropical industrial environment. Am J Trop Med Hyg 80: 7884. [Google Scholar]
  7. Inglis TJ, Merritt A, Montgomery J, Jayasinghe I, Thevanesam V, McInnes R, , 2008. Deployable laboratory response to emergence of melioidosis in central Sri Lanka. J Clin Microbiol 46: 34793481.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  8. Inglis TJJ, , 2013. The lab without walls: a deployable approach to tropical infectious diseases. Am J Trop Med Hyg 88: 614618.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  9. Inglis TJ, Merritt AJ, Levy A, Vietheer P, Bradbury R, Scholler A, Chidlow G, Smith DW, , 2011. Deployable laboratory response to influenza pandemic; PCR assay field trials and comparison with reference methods. PLoS One 6: e25526.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  10. Lee DJ, Hicks MM, Griffiths M, Russell RC, Debenham ML, Bryan JH, Marks EN, , 1980. The Culicidae of the Australasian Region. Entomology Monograph No. 2, vol. 1. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service. [Google Scholar]
  11. van den Hurk AF, Craig SB, Tulsiani SM, Jansen CC, , 2010. Emerging tropical diseases in Australia. Part 4. Mosquito-borne diseases. Ann Trop Med Parasitol 104: 623640.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  12. Selvey LA, Dailey L, Lindsay M, Armstrong P, Tobin S, Koehler AP, Markey PG, Smith DW, , 2014. The changing epidemiology of Murray Valley encephalitis in Australia: the 2011 outbreak and a review of the literature. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8: e2656.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  13. Speers DJ, Flexman J, Blyth CC, Rooban N, Raby E, Ramaseshan G, Benson S, Smith DW, , 2013. Clinical and radiological predictors of outcome for Murray Valley encephalitis. Am J Trop Med Hyg 88: 481489.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  14. Gray TJ, Burrow JN, Markey PG, Whelan PI, Jackson J, Smith DW, Currie BJ, , 2011. West Nile virus (Kunjin subtype) disease in the northern territory of Australia—a case of encephalitis and review of all reported cases. Am J Trop Med Hyg 85: 952956.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  15. Department of the Environment, Australian Government, 1999. Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). Canberra, Australia: Australian Government. [Google Scholar]
  16. Brumpton BM, McPherson BA, Frances SP, Inglis TJJ, McCall BJ, , 2011. Townsville field training area health assessment. ADF Health J 12: 4550. [Google Scholar]
  17. Queensland Health, 2010. Murray Valley encephalitis. Available at: http://access.health.qld.gov.au/hid/InfectionsandParasites/ViralInfections/murrayValleyEncephalitis_fs.asp. Accessed August 1, 2010. [Google Scholar]
  18. Hall-Mendelin S, Ritchie SA, Johansen CA, Zborowski P, Cortis G, Dandridge S, Hall RA, van den Hurk AF, , 2010. Exploiting mosquito sugar feeding to detect mosquito-borne pathogens. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107: 1125511259.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 04 Dec 2015
  • Accepted : 25 Feb 2016
  • Published online : 07 Sep 2016

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error