VDCI began a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April of 2016. The goal of the partnership is to assist U.S. Territories with public health efforts by defending the population against the threat of Zika. As part of the partnership, VDCI team members have been active in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Guam.
Dr. Broox Boze, Operations Manager in Northern Colorado, discusses her work while in the Marshall Islands.
“The support from several public agencies as well as residents was immediate. Our team was able to review a course of action and quickly perform treatment applications. Residents prepared their homes for treatments in as little as 24 hours and churches offered to postpone services to help keep us on schedule. It was amazing to see the sense of urgency and duty illustrated towards keeping the island nation’s residents safe.”
The country has seen its residents fall ill to vector-borne diseases in the past. In 2011, a large dengue outbreak resulted in 867 laboratory-positive cases recorded. Last year, the islands reported over a thousand cases of chikungunya. Zika virus is the newest concern in the Marshall Islands, with the first local case recorded in February of this year. The tropical nation provides an ideal climate for the mosquito species Aedes ageypti and Aedes albopictus, with both species a concern in the fight against Zika.
Dr. Boze highlighted the need to focus on the habitats of the Aedes ageypti and Aedes albopictus, saying, “The species are container breeding, which is why we often discover larval habitats around homes as well as areas with large amounts of discarded waste. On this project, we found larvae in a range of receptacles, from coconut shells to car tires. Our team applied outdoor residual larvicide, with more time dedicated to areas of high-density trash. An additional focus was provided to homes of pregnant women, schools, and churches.”
Along with treatment applications, public relations and education are an important part of VDCI’s community involvement. With a belief that an educated public is extremely beneficial to the successful implementation of an integrated mosquito management program. Dr. Boze reinforced this belief. “Our team provided Ministry of Health and Public Works employees with education in the field and the classroom as well as donated application equipment to aid in further management efforts,” she said, when discussing ways, the company ensured the community was provided with several tools to continue effective mosquito management.
Currently, another integrated mosquito management program is underway in Guam. The country is preparing for the Festival of the Pacific Arts, held every four years. Guam is the host country for 2016 and will welcome delegations from 27 Island Nations and Territories around the Pacific region. The VDCI and CDC partnership is working hard to ensure that the populations of several U.S. Territories are protected against vector-borne diseases during the large event.
Broox Boze is a Program Manager in Northern Colorado. Dr. Boze holds a Masters of Science in Biology and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Colorado State University. She can be reached through the VDCI website or by calling 800.413.4445.
Since 1992, Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) has taken pride in providing municipalities, mosquito abatement districts, industrial sites, planned communities, homeowners associations, and golf courses with the tools they need to run effective mosquito control programs. We are determined to protect the public health of the communities in which we operate. Our mosquito control professionals have over 100 years of combined experience in the field of public health, specifically vector disease control. We strive to provide the most effective and scientifically sound mosquito surveillance and control programs possible based on an Integrated Mosquito Management approach recommended by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). VDCI is the only company in the country that can manage all aspects of an integrated mosquito management program, from surveillance to disease testing to aerial application in emergency situations.