​Media Release

Ramping up biosecurity barriers after mosquito detections

25 February 2015

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today announced increased measures at some Australian international airports to manage the increased human health risks posed by ongoing detections of exotic mosquitoes.

“From today identified aircraft landing in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne from certain south-east Asian airports will need to fumigate the cargo holds, before luggage is unloaded, to help stop these exotic pests hitchhiking their way to Australia,” Minister Joyce said.

“In our routine mosquito trapping and surveillance activities in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, there has been a small but significant spike in detections of Aedes Aegypti by our biosecurity officers.

“These mosquitoes can potentially carry diseases such as Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever and Chikungunya. There is no suggestion that any mosquitoes detected in the past few months have been carrying any disease—and the new measures now in place are designed to keep it that way.”

The new measures are in addition to the increased trapping and surveillance activities Department of Agriculture staff have been undertaking—as well as the knockdown fogging, surface spraying, and treatment of standing water undertaken by state authorities.

“I want to thank the airlines, airports and state authorities for their willingness to work with my department to implement these extra measures that safeguard our community,” Minister Joyce said.

“Our biosecurity system is risk-based and where risk increases so does our level of treatment and intervention.”

Identified aircraft arriving from Denpasar, Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will be treated while work goes on to genetically test the mosquitoes that have been trapped so far to narrow down their origins.

“I want to stress these measures won’t impact on passengers travelling to or from these destinations,” Minister Joyce said.

“Australia’s enviable biosecurity status is of critical importance to our human, animal and plant health—and increasing measures where risks increase shows our system is working.”