Surveillance and disease testing
The risk of contracting vector-borne diseases may seem small, but the stakes are very high. Zika, Yellow Fever, West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and other diseases can cause severe illness and health problems, including fevers, vision loss, nervous system complications, birth defects, and even death. The most effective way to prevent disease transmission is to closely monitor local mosquito populations through advanced surveillance and disease testing in a scientific laboratory.
Virtually every industry is vulnerable to mosquitoes, from homeowners associations to golf courses to manufacturing facilities and construction sites. It’s common for these groups to contract general pest services for mosquito control solutions, but unlicensed companies usually do not have the tools, bandwidth, or knowledge to establish long lasting control. Often, they have a singular focus on spraying mosquito populations that have gotten out of hand rather than implementing a proactive, comprehensive integrated mosquito management (IMM) program. This reactive approach can lead to insecticide resistance, larger mosquito populations, and the more widespread presence of disease over time.
The Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) Advantage
Vector-control companies that are licensed in public health by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are subject to strict rules and regulations designed to abate both the short- and long-term risks posed by mosquitoes. That’s why surveillance and disease testing are essential elements in an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program.
Surveillance efforts are designed to monitor mosquito populations at every part of the life cycle, starting at the larval stage. Inspections of breeding grounds helps to identify sources of standing water and determine if source reduction and control efforts are needed.
Adult surveillance involves setting traps such as the New Jersey Light Trap, CDC Light Trap, or Gravid Trap to collect and study population dynamics and species distribution in the given area. This is done by meticulously counting and examining each mosquito for physical markers like scales, spines, and color patterns. There are 175+ different species of mosquitoes, each with their own flight patterns, host preferences, susceptibility to certain products, and times of peak activity. Understanding these characteristics helps experts make the right management choices.
Data informs the types of insecticides selected, spray rates, and even the time of day they are applied. This helps maximize the impact of the products while limiting unnecessary use and the risk of insecticide resistance. Data taken throughout the process also helps experts measure the success of management efforts and determine if different strategies are needed.
Adult mosquito examinations also involve testing for pathogens to determine the level of disease risk to the community. Typically, scientists are able to identify dangerous diseases in the mosquitoes weeks before they can be transmitted to humans and animals. This provides a valuable window for the implementation of preventative measures.
When disease testing information is tracked on a continuous basis, it can be compared to historical data. This may reveal potential trends that allow experts to predict and prevent public health threats before they arise. VDCI also partners with public health entities to share up-to-date information about these threats and ways homeowners, construction and industrial crews, and employees at golf courses and other outdoor recreational facilities can protect themselves.
Remember the 4 D’s when spending time outside:
- DEFEND — Consistently wear and reapply an EPA-approved repellent.
- DRESS — Wear closed-toe shoes, light colors, and long sleeves and pants.
- DRAIN — Empty and prevent future water collection in outdoor tools and objects.
- DUSK & DAWN — Limit spending time outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.
Contact the Experts at VDCI
We are committed to protecting public health through excellence in vector control. Learn how our team can support an existing program or help you develop a custom program to meet your community’s needs.