The Mosquito Diaries is an interactive exhibit by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) that will be displayed at the Everyman Theatre for Liverpool Light Night, an arts festival expecting 2000 visitors. The exhibit will use games, craft activities, live mosquitoes, & live scientists to present research from LSTM on mosquito biology and malaria disease transmission. Malaria causes 438,000 deaths a year and infects millions more. Global efforts have decreased malaria cases, but insecticide resistance threatens progress, & recent outbreaks of Zika and dengue make mosquito biology a vital and current topic to talk about with the public. The exhibit aims to inspire the next generation of biologists, highlighting the importance of scientific research in the fight against malaria, & promote an awareness of mosquito-borne disease and travel health. The exhibit will have 3 take-home points: 1. “Mosquitoes transmit malaria”. Demonstration of live mosquitoes, together with the unfamiliar sight of the aquatic larval life stages, will spark debate and about how the insect’s blood feeding can transmit diseases. A mosquito mask making activity will get visitors to think about how the antennae and biting mouthparts are used in human finding and feeding. 2. “Bednets and biting”, will show how insecticide treated bednets protect people from bites from the nocturnal malaria-transmitting mosquito. Videos of mosquito flight tracks around bednets will demonstrate their protective effect. Visitors can compete in a timed buzz-wire game, mimicking a mosquito’s flight path when locating and navigating around a bednet. 3. “The issue of insecticide resistance”, mosquitoes are adapting to the widespread use of insecticide by becoming resistant to these chemicals, threatening disease control. This will be illustrated using the computer game “Resistance” in which visitors conduct an insecticide resistance test on virtual mosquitoes, whilst completing multiple choice questions.
Funded by Liverpool (April 2016)