The HumBug project has taken the next step in field-testing the HumBug system. Our collaborators from the Kinshasa School of Public Health and Bandundu University are running trials to establish how well local communities can set up and run the HumBug System. We have recruited members of the community who are happy to be part of the study. They are provided with all the equipment they need, including new bednets and a budget smartphone running our MozzWear app. We ask them to set up the HumBug system in their homes after seeing a demonstration of the process during a community meeting. Our collaborators check how well they have done and ask them a few questions to find out if there were any problems. The system is then left to run and start generating mosquito flight tone data.
Our aim is to be able to run long-term mosquito surveillance without need for constant supervision by vector field scientists. This will reduce the effort (and budget!) needed for the kind of longitudinal studies that are currently almost impossible to run using traditional mosquito surveillance methods. Longitudinal surveys give us invaluable information about the mosquitoes’ population dynamics, particularly their varying abundance over dry and rainy seasons.
Long term surveillance using HumBug could quickly red flag locations where mosquito interventions are starting to fail (insecticide resistance is now widespread amongst many dominant vector species) pinpointing locations where mosquito numbers are increasing despite the presence of insecticide based control.
Our next stage is to automate the system so the community will not need to turn the sensor on and off, or upload the audio data. Anyone involved in distributing solar panels in rural, malaria endemic areas – please get in contact!