THABAZIMBI – Students and personnel from the Zoonoses Research Unit at Pretoria University together with an entomologist, Prof P Almeida, from Portugal set off to the Thabazimbi district to catch mosquitoes.
In the last two years the ZRU has received numerous specimens from the Thabazimbi district, specifically from Marakele Nature Reserve and neighbouring farms, of wildlife suffering with neurological signs. Specimens included buffalo, warthogs and rhinoceros. A buffalo was found to be positive for Shunivirus (Bunyaviridae) and several warthogs were Middelburgvirus (Togaviridae) positive.
Therefore they chose this area to catch mosquitoes. Prof P Almeida from Portugal assisted them with the light traps and relevant methods and also trained them in identifying mosquitoes morphologically.
They were successful in catching mosquitoes in several locations and with the aid of Prof P Almeida identified all of them. The mosquitoes will be batched and screened with RT-PCR/isolation to detect the different arboviruses.
By S van Niekerk