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A New Dawn for Fighting Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Posted by The VDCI Team on Aug 20, 2018 10:39:38 AM

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Over recent decades many mosquito-borne diseases have resurfaced or emerged and spread rapidly. From Zika, dengue to West Nile fever and chikungunya. Even malaria, which has had long-term global efforts to eradicate it has recently shown signs of increasing.

Many of these diseases have no specific treatment and the limited medicines available for some are facing resistance. Insecticides used to control mosquitoes are also facing resistance. On many fronts, innovations are urgently needed to control old diseases and prevent new ones from spreading.

Scientists in fields as diverse as biochemistry, genomics, entomology, computing, remote sensing, avionics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and aerospace engineering are combining their resources to develop new ways to fight diseases.

Here are a few examples of some recent scientific developments that are bringing a new dawn in the fight against the global threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Public Education

Public Health: U.S. Mosquito-Borne Diseases [Quick Overview]

Posted by The VDCI Team on Aug 14, 2018 1:04:32 PM

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There are really only two reasons to control mosquitoes; to avoid nuisance biting, and to preclude the spread of mosquito-borne disease. Everyone recognizes that mosquitoes can be a terrible blood feeding nuisance, but many people do not realize the magnitude of the health threat that they represent globally. Some of the world's most deadly diseases are carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. It is estimated that up to a million people die every year from mosquito-borne illness with many countries around the world ravaged by malaria, yellow fever, and dengue-hemorrhagic fever. What is the history and what are the current local cases of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S.? 
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Public Education

Vector-Borne Disease Spotlight: Jamestown Canyon Virus

Posted by The VDCI Team on Jul 12, 2018 11:48:37 AM

Written By Kris New, Regional Director for VDCI
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What? There is another virus that can be transmitted by mosquitoes?!

Yes. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world, and Jamestown Canyon virus is another virus on the long list of diseases vectored by these arthropods.

What is interesting about Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), is that it behaves a little differently than a few of the viruses the public may be more familiar with. West Nile virus (WNV) and Zika virus rely on a reservoir host to perpetuate the virus, as the mosquito cannot pass it on to their offspring. With JCV, in addition to having reservoir hosts, such as deer, this virus can also have transovarian transmission, which means the parent arthropod (in this case a mosquito) can pass the disease pathogen to their offspring. This is not completely uncommon. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a vector-borne disease that is transmitted through an infected tick carrying the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. The bacterium can be transmitted to offspring in this way as well.

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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Public Education

Mosquito Control Services: Integrated Management Matters

Posted by The VDCI Team on Jun 13, 2018 12:27:00 PM

Written By Tim Bennett, Biologist and Vice President of Western Operations for VDCI

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Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) is a term that everyone in the field of public health mosquito and vector-borne disease control is familiar with. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) defines IMM as, “a comprehensive mosquito prevention and control strategy that utilizes all available mosquito control methods, either singly or in combination, to exploit the known vulnerabilities of mosquitoes to reduce their numbers while maintaining a quality environment.” This definition describes what Integrated Mosquito Management is, but why is IMM the best practice for controlling mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases?

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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Public Education

Mosquito Management Trucks: Science on Wheels

Posted by The VDCI Team on May 8, 2018 10:54:00 AM

Written By Rob Kozar, Front Range Regional Director - Colorado

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Like cell phones, computers, and domestic beer, today’s adult mosquito fogging trucks bear little resemblance to their predecessors from the not too distant past. While Ultra Low Volume (ULV) fogging machines have been in use for decades the technology to collect data, map, and apply pesticides in the pursuit of controlling adult mosquito populations is as cutting-edge as never before. The utilization of such technology allows mosquito control professionals across the country to practice adult mosquito control via a “science on wheels” approach which places primacy on accuracy, efficacy, and safety as well as the capacity to generate information useful and frequently necessary for clients in addition to helping the employee performing the application.
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Technology

Mosquitoes Playing Hard to Get? Consider Resistance Monitoring

Posted by The VDCI Team on Apr 10, 2018 2:19:53 PM

Written By Kellie Nestrud, Biologist and Contract Manager in Louisiana 

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There are several different components of a successful Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program. The consideration of chemical resistance in the local mosquito population is one of the components. Knowing, understanding, and monitoring for chemical resistance should begin as early as possible in an IMM program. It is recommended that all IMM programs monitor their mosquito populations for resistance at the beginning of a season and as often throughout the season as thought necessary. Resistance data is most valuable when collected over time to allow for comparison and monitoring of trends. There are many methods to monitor the effectiveness of an insecticide, and program managers may need to adjust their approach from season to season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines that a population of mosquitoes is considered to be resistant to an insecticide if a mortality rate is less than 90%. So how would one know if they are working with a population that has resistance?
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Surveillance and Disease Monitoring

Industry Partnerships: Opportunities to Learn and Grow

Posted by The VDCI Team on Mar 15, 2018 12:13:04 PM

Written By The VDCI Team

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The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) took place in Kansas City, MO. The Association’s president, Wayne Gale, brought attention to the meeting’s ability to bring together the industry to share experiences, discoveries, and challenges. A portion of AMCA’s mission highlights the goal to, “… provide leadership, information and education leading to the enhancement of health and quality of life through the suppression of mosquitoes.…”

VDCI is incredibly proud of the way our team continues to reinforce AMCA’s mission, with their dedication to expanding their knowledge of mosquito management by partnering with experts across the industry. It brings us joy to share a few examples, of collaboration and supporting the future of mosquito control, that were discussed or were on display during the 2018 Annual Meeting.
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Topics: Public Education, Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Industry News

2017 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Posted by The VDCI Team on Feb 13, 2018 4:36:30 PM

Written By The VDCI Team

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In 2017, the scientific community, the public, and the press maintained their interest in the Zika virus outbreak of 2016. Articles surfaced on the potential long-term health complications attributed to contracting the virus. The public received extra education on personal protective measures to reduce the spread of Zika. And the scientific community reviewed trusted and experimental methods to prevent future outbreaks. In addition to Mother Nature bringing new mosquito-related problems to Texas and Florida last year, in the floodwaters left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, both states reported the only locally-acquired U.S. cases of Zika virus for the second year in a row. 

There were several mosquito-borne diseases reported in the United States in 2017. In this blog, we will focus on: West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and Zika. WNV remains the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes to humans in the U.S. as well as responsible for taking the highest number of human lives. 
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Public Education

Mosquito Surveillance – Part 2: Life at the Lab Identifying Species and Disease Testing

Posted by The VDCI Team on Nov 29, 2017 11:28:53 AM

Written By Michael “Doc” Weissmann, Ph.D., Chief Entomologist

As discussed in a previous Mosquito Surveillance blog post, a well-designed surveillance program provides important information necessary to guide a modern mosquito control program. However, trapping the mosquitoes is only the first step in surveillance. Once the mosquito specimens are collected, they must be processed in the laboratory.

lab-mosquito-identification-250x166.jpgOnce the sample is euthanized, the mosquitoes are counted to determine how many were captured. If the trap count is very high, the numbers are estimated and only a sample is identified. How high is high? In locations without mosquito control and with good sources of water, nectar, blood-meals, and harborage, trap counts in the tens of thousands of mosquitoes in one night have been recorded, and not just in the tropics!
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Topics: Surveillance and Disease Monitoring, Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM)

Mosquito Surveillance – Part 1: The Art of Hunting Mosquitoes

Posted by The VDCI Team on Oct 30, 2017 2:17:22 PM

Written By Michael “Doc” Weissmann, Ph.D., Chief Entomologist

I may be biased, but in my opinion surveillance is the most critical component of the Integrated Pest Management method of controlling insect pests. In modern mosquito control programs, surveillance includes setting traps to monitor adult mosquito populations in a given area.

harvey-emergency-response-truck-surveillance-250x166-blog_TX-danm.jpgA good surveillance strategy includes choosing the right kind(s) of traps to use that meet the goals of the control program. For example, most female mosquitoes are attracted to carbon-dioxide given off by a breathing animal that would be a potential source for a blood-meal. A CObaited light trap utilizes dry ice or some other source of carbon-dioxide to mimic the breathing of an animal blood source, with a small light bulb to draw the mosquitoes close enough to the trap fan for capture. Egg-laying females of species that live as larvae in smaller, water-filled containers can be collected with Gravid Traps. These consist of a fan and net suspended above a container of “highly organic” water as bait (usually an infusion of fermented hay and other ingredients). Many mosquito species are attracted to light, and a New Jersey light trap draws them into a fan using a bright light as bait, but with the unfortunate side-effect of collecting many other species of flies, beetles, and moths that also come to lights – in some locations at certain times of year it can be quite a chore to pick through the non-mosquitoes that are also collected. Surveys for Aedes aegypti - the primary vector of Yellow Fever, Chikungunya, Dengue, Zika, and other viruses – and the related Asian Tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus) often utilize BG Sentinel traps and lethal ovitraps to attract egg-laying females of these “container-breeding” species.
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Topics: Surveillance and Disease Monitoring, Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM)