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Surveillance and control of Aedes albopictus in the Swiss-Italian border region: differences in egg densities between intervention and non-intervention areas

Suter, Tobias T. and Flacio, Eleonora and Feijoó Fariña, Begoña and Engeler, Lukas and Tonolla, Mauro and Regis, Lêda N. and de Melo Santos, Maria A. V. and Müller, Pie. (2016) Surveillance and control of Aedes albopictus in the Swiss-Italian border region: differences in egg densities between intervention and non-intervention areas. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 10 (1). e0004315.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, originates from the tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast Asia. Over the recent decades it has been passively spread across the globe, primarily through the used tyre trade and passive transportation along major traffic routes. A. albopictus is a proven vector for many arboviruses, most notably chikungunya and dengue, with recent outbreaks also in continental Europe. In southern Switzerland, in the Canton of Ticino A. albopictus was spotted for the first time in 2003. Since then the local authorities have implemented a control programme based on larval source reduction. Despite these efforts, mosquito densities have increased over the last decade, casting doubts on the effectiveness of such larval control programmes.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The Italian communities just across the Swiss-Italian border lack a control programme. This motivated us to compare the intervention and the non-intervention areas side by side in an attempt to find evidence for, or against, the effectiveness of larval A. albopictus control. Using ovitraps and a randomised sampling scheme, we examined the seasonal and spatial abundance of A. albopictus in sylvatic and urban environments across the Swiss-Italian border in 2012 and 2013. In the urban environments of the non-intervention area, egg densities were 2.26 times higher as compared to the intervention area. In the sylvatic environments, as compared to the urban environments, egg densities were 36% in the intervention area and 18% in the non-intervention area.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Though alternative explanations are also valid, the results support the hypothesis that the Ticino intervention programme does have an impact. At the same time the data also suggest that current larval interventions fall short in gaining full control over the mosquito, calling for the evaluation of additional, or alternative, approaches. Ideally, these should also consider inclusion of the neighbouring Italian communities in the surveillance and control efforts.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Health Interventions > Vector Control Centre (Müller)
UniBasel Contributors:Suter, Tobias and Müller, Pie
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1935-2727
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:30 Jun 2016 11:03
Deposited On:04 Apr 2016 14:50

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