Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SURVEILLANCE AND ECOLOGY OF MOSQUITO, BITING AND FILTH BREEDING INSECTS

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit

2007 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Identify, and evaluate chemical attractants to augment trap selectivity and efficacy under laboratory and field conditions. 2) Design, develop, and evaluate innovative, robust, automated and economically feasible traps capable of selective sampling of mosquitoes, biting and filth-breeding flies. 3) Investigate relationships between mosquito and fly biology, physiology, and behavior and disease transmission and surveillance. 4) Design and validate automated, remote surveillance systems that incorporate selective trapping and global information technology to direct control efforts.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Conduct basic laboratory and field research to determine the relationship(s) between mosquito biology, physiology, and behavior and disease transmission, surveillance, and control. Design, develop, and evaluate innovative, robust and inexpensive traps capable of selective sampling of biting and filth-breeding flies. Isolate, identify, and adapt chemical attractants to augment trap selectivity. Devise accurate biological assays to evaluate attractant activity for biting and filth-breeding flies under laboratory and field conditions. Design and validate surveillance systems based on an understanding of the quantitative relationship between mosquito activity in time and space and the presence/absence of biotic and abiotic factors with GIS technology to predict disease transmission patterns and to direct control efforts.


3.Progress Report
Long-term population data from mosquito surveillance records have been acquired from mosquito and vector control districts and state public health agencies from 4 regions of the United States. These data will be digitized and entered into a national Geographic Information System database, and analyses will be conducted to better understand the mosquito population dynamics in the United States and compared to national satellite data to create forecast models for the spatial and temporal distribution of important vector species.


4.Accomplishments
Forecasted Rift Valley fever outbreak. Mosquito-borne diseases pose a significant threat to the health of animals and people. One of these diseases, Rift Valley fever (RVF), causes high mortality and abortion in domestic animals, and significant fever, meningoencephalitis, hemorrhage and mortality in humans. To prevent potential introduction of this disease into the United States, it is important that we detect and respond to outbreaks in natural settings in Africa and the Middle East. Scientists at the Mosquito and Fly Research Unit, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida have discovered a method, using global and local climate and vegetation development information, to forecast this disease well before it occurs. In late-2006, an early warning of an impending RVF outbreak was issued to national and international agricultural and public health officials 3 months before a large outbreak occurred in four countries in the Horn of Africa. This outbreak affected thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of domestic animals; dramatically impacting the economy of these countries. This alert resulted in increased national and international surveillance and dramatically enhanced the RVF control response for the first time in history; reducing the impact of the disease and protecting other countries from becoming affected by the disease. This research product will become the standard model for predicting RVF and will be used as a template for new research to develop similar models for the United States for other important mosquito-borne diseases. Research addresses NP-104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology.

Effectiveness of commercial fly traps. In response to a request by U.S. Navy personnel, a comparison was made of nine commercial fly traps, including the only trap (“Flies-be-gone”) that currently has a national stock number (NSN). The “Flies-be-gone” trap only collected 7% as many house flies and 16% as many blow flies as the most attractive commercial trap (Farnam’s “Terminator”) studied. In a follow-up study in July 2007 that evaluated the relative contributions of trap geometry and attractants to fly collection, the “Flies-be-gone” trap did not collect as many flies as the “Terminator,” regardless of the attractant used. Results of this study may help guide future decisions as to which traps are most effective in collecting flies and provide the best value for the US military. Research addresses NP-104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology.

Attractants for sand flies. Multiple lures were tested in MMX mosquito traps for their ability to enhance the capture of sand flies. A human odor sample, octenol, and carbon dioxide were tested in a Latin square design in Aswan, Egypt. Preliminary results indicate that human odors and octenol lures in MMX traps increased the capture of Phlebotomus papatasi, a vector of leishmaniasis in the Middle East. Experiments are in progress to examine effects of trap orientation on capture of sand flies. Research addresses NP-104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology.

Unbiased estimators of adult mosquito population density. Unbiased estimators are needed to acquire data that can be used to understand and forecast mosquito distributions in time and space and to reliably predict mosquito-borne disease transmission risk. The mechanical traps presently used to monitor mosquito populations for this purpose provide biased estimates of mosquito density. We have developed a family of preliminary statistical models that explain the relationship between capture rates of adult mosquitoes by mechanical traps and the rate of landing by adult mosquitoes on a human subject. The models allow us to infer mosquito attack rates from mechanical trap data. This capacity is critical to the development of reliable methods for assessing disease transmission risk and for the timely implementation of vector controls that would allow preemption of epizootics/epidemics of mosquito-transmitted disease. Research addresses NP-104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology.

Development of mosquito vector surveillance systems for seaports of entry in the continental United States. A surveillance system is needed for the detection of mosquito vectors that arrive in the continental United States (CONUS) on seagoing vessels from foreign ports where vector-borne diseases are endemic. With the assistance of local, state, and federal officials, a pilot study site has been identified at the Ports of Charleston, SC and historical mosquito activity data for the Port area are being analyzed. The required permissions necessary to sample arriving vessels, berth areas, and the dockside environment for exotic mosquito vectors and the pathogens they may be carrying are being obtained. The methods and techniques developed in this study will enable surveillance for exotic mosquito species in seaport environments throughout the CONUS and will facilitate the detection, containment, and local eradication of exotic and/or invasive mosquito vectors upon arrival in the USA. Research addresses NP-104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology.

Creating strategic inter-agency partnerships and synthesizing research programs to protect the US against Rift Valley fever, a potential emerging mosquito-borne viral threat. Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a potential emerging mosquito-borne viral threat that could have severe economic and public and animal health impacts should it arrive in the US. Although US agencies and universities are actively creating response/surveillance plans for RVFV and researching critical technological advances such as diagnostics and vaccines, we risk confusion and delay due to lack of communication and/or integrated response efforts should RVFV arrive in the US. MFRU staff organized key researchers and administrators from several federal and state agencies and universities into a Working Group to formulate synthesized response plans, avoid duplicating research, and set a future trajectory that will significantly strengthen the US against the possible arrival of RVFV. A latent but high-value impact of this Working Group is that its products and partnerships will be laterally transferable to other mosquito-borne viruses currently or potentially impacting the US economy and animal and public health. Research addresses NP-104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology.

Preliminary synthesis and analysis of temporal and spatial dynamics of US mosquito population surveillance data at the national level. Population dynamics of medically-important species of mosquitoes in the US are poorly understood at regional and national levels. Particularly lacking are GIS models of climate-population associations that could predict the temporal and spatial dynamics and abundance of important mosquito species. To resolve this problem, mosquito population surveillance data and climate data from across the US have been accumulated. Focusing on potential US mosquito vectors of Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus, we have completed pilot studies (one is in press and one in review) that suggest that US satellite-based climate data will be a powerful tool in forecasting high densities of mosquitoes at local, regional, and national levels. Combining these products with the remote-sensing RVF prediction model for Africa, also developed by scientists at CMAVE, we will develop an RVF virus early-warning GIS for the US which will target key areas such as ports for heightened disease surveillance, prevention and response efforts, potentially reducing severity of future mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in this country. Research addresses NP-104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology.


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of new CRADAs and MTAs2
Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings50
Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences9

Review Publications
Kline, D.L., Patnaude, M., Barnard, D.R. 2006. Efficacy of four trap types for detection and monitoring of culex spp. in north central Florida. Journal of Medical Entomology. 43(6):1121-1128.

Britch, S.C., Linthicum, K. 2007. Developing a research agenda and a comprehensive national prevention and response plan for Rift Valley fever in the U.S. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 13(8):

Pridgeon, J.W., Meepagala, K.M., Becnel, J.J., Clark, G.G., Pereira, R.M., Linthicum, K. 2007. Structure-Activity Relationships of 33 Piperidines as Adulticides against Aedes aegypti(Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of Medical Entomology. 44(2):263-269.

Welch, C.H., Kline, D.L., Allan, S.A., Barnard, D.R. 2006. Laboratory evaluation of a dyed food marking technique for culex quinquefasciatus (diptera: culicidae). American Mosquito Control Association. 22(4):626-628.

Tomberlin, J.K., Rains, G.C., Allan, S.A., Sanford, M.R., Lewis, W.J. 2006. Associative learning of odor with food or blood-meal by culex quinquefasciatus say (diptera: culicidae). Naturwissenschaften. 93(11):551-556.

Anyamba, A., Chretien, J., Small, J., Tucker, C.J., Linthicum, K. 2006. Developing Global Climate Anomalies Suggest Potential Disease Risks For 2006 – 2007. International Journal of Health Geographics 5:60-67.

Chretien, J., Anyamba, A., Bedno, S.A., Breiman, R.F., Sang, R., Sergon, K., Powers, A.M., Onyango, C.O., Small, J., Tucker, C.J., Linthicum, K. 2007. Drought-associated chikungunya emergence along coastal East Africa. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 76(3):405-407.

Hoel, D.F., Kline, D.L., Allan, S.A., Grant, A. 2007. Evaluation of carbon dioxide, 1-octen-3-o1 and lactic acid as baits in Mosquito Magnet Pro traps for aedes albopictus (skuse) in North Central Florida.. American Mosquito Control Association. 23(1):11-17.

Linthicum, K., Allan, S.A., Barnard, D.R., Becnel, J.J., Bernier, U.R., Carlson, D.A., Clark, G.G., Geden, C.J., Hogsette, Jr, J.A., Kline, D.L. 2006. The USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology: Developing new mosquito surveillance and control products. California Mosquito and Vector Control Association Proceedings. 74:83-86.

Barnard, D.R., Bernier, U.R., Xue, R., Klun, J., Debboun, M. 2006. Standard methods for testing mosquito repellents. Book Chapter.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page