2009 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of the cooperative effort between Brandeis University and the ARS Mosquito and Fly Research Unit (MFRU) is to demonstrate the public health importance and socio-economic benefits of the area-wide control of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Economists from Brandeis University in Massachusetts will guide and direct the studies of the benefits of the area-wide program and have primary responsibility for the economic analyses. Together, these two institutions will utilize their expertise and human resources to collaborate and focus on a mosquito species that causes severe problems for residents of many areas of the U.S.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Brandeis researchers will collect and analyze data related to costs and economic outcomes over the course of the project. They will collect data directly about the publicly financed cost of vector control by interviewing government and project officials and reviewing budgets and other documents. They will manage collection of data from households through community surveys. Finally, they will analyze all data needed for performing economic analyses. Brandeis will contract with a survey research institution to implement two rounds of a household (community) telephone survey using random digit dialing about household expenditures related to mosquito control and outdoor activities that may be impacted by the Asian Tiger mosquito.
This project relates to the in-house project Objective 2: Demonstrate the public health importance and socio-economic benefits of area-wide mosquito control. This was the second year of the Areawide Pest Management (AWPM) Program for the Asian Tiger Mosquito (ATM). Brandeis University economists initiated a household survey in October 2008 to: (1) determine the cost of individual and household mosquito control activities, (2) measure the improvement in residents’ quality of life achieved by this program, and (3) ascertain residents’ willingness to pay for potential mosquito control activities. An experimental study using a structured survey is being conducted to measure the impact of this project on the community. Pre-intervention data were collected from six similar areas selected for future study. The survey used two instruments: a mail survey and a telephone interview survey. The stated preference technique is used to measure the willingness to pay. The sample frame for the survey was created from public records. The cleaning process resulted in a sample frame of 6,303 household addresses from which 1,349 households were randomly selected; half from Mercer and half from Monmouth County. Of these, 186 households were selected to receive the telephone interview with the mail survey, while 1,163 households received the mail survey only. The core of this survey was to understand how mosquitoes affect households’ quality of life including outdoors activities. When asked to what extent mosquitoes prevented the respondents from enjoying outdoors activities, overall 37% answered very much, 27% somewhat, 21% a little bit and 15% not at all. The process of cleaning the dataset on cost analysis is currently underway prior to analyzing the data further. Currently Brandeis University is preparing the sample frame, updating the questionnaire and needed documents for the second household survey to be implemented August 2009. Six sheets were developed for the county-based economic cost component aiming to ascertain the costs of mosquito control activities in Mercer and Monmouth Counties based on documents and discussions with county officials. Project staff from Brandeis participated in the project review meeting held in February, 2009 at Rutgers University. Their activities were discussed with the Evaluation Team, the Core team including the ARS Leader of National Program 104, and the ATM project staff.
Progress was monitored by regular e-mail communications, phone calls and periodic meetings.