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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BITING ARTHROPODS: SENSORY ECOLOGY AND SURVEILLANCE Title: Countering a Bioterrorist Introduction of Pathogen-Infected Mosquitoes through Mosquito Control

Authors
item Tabachnick, Walter -
item Harvey, William -
item Becnel, James
item Clark, Gary
item Connelly, C -
item Day, Jonathan -
item Linser, Paul -
item Linthicum, Kenneth

Submitted to: Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 4, 2011
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Citation: Tabachnick, W.J., Harvey, W.R., Becnel, J.J., Clark, G.G., Connelly, C.R., Day, J.F., Linser, P.J., Linthicum, K. 2011. Countering a Bioterrorist Introduction of Pathogen-Infected Mosquitoes through Mosquito Control. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 27(2):165-167.

Interpretive Summary: A workshop titled “Counteracting Bioterrorist Introduction of Pathogen-Infected Vector Mosquitoes” was held in Gainesville, Florida on May 20-22, 2010 to discuss (1) disease and vector surveillance, (2) pre-bioterrorist attack preparations, (3) actions during an ongoing bioterrorist attack, and (4) post-bioterrorist attack issues. The Workshop was attended by 65 mosquito control and public health professionals from throughout the southeastern U. S. The plenary address at the Workshop titled “After 9-11 – Are We Safer?” was given by Governor Bob Graham. Governor Graham’s assessment was that although the U. S. has made substantial improvements in its security infrastructure, new challenges are continually appearing that require greater diligence and the development of novel security strategies. Our long range plan for a national biosurveillance/response strategy comprises three phases: (I) organize current resources (II) upgrade Florida infrastructure for mosquito control and training in medical entomology (III) Develop and upgrade a national mosquito control/training infrastructure. This document is focused on Phase I and II.

Technical Abstract: A workshop titled “Counteracting Bioterrorist Introduction of Pathogen-Infected Vector Mosquitoes” was held in Gainesville, Florida on May 20-22, 2010 to discuss (1) disease and vector surveillance, (2) pre-bioterrorist attack preparations, (3) actions during an ongoing bioterrorist attack, and (4) post-bioterrorist attack issues. The Workshop was attended by 65 mosquito control and public health professionals from throughout the southeastern U. S. The plenary address at the Workshop titled “After 9-11 – Are We Safer?” was given by Governor Bob Graham. Governor Graham’s assessment was that although the U. S. has made substantial improvements in its security infrastructure, new challenges are continually appearing that require greater diligence and the development of novel security strategies. Florida and the entire United States are under threat from bioterrorists using pathogen-infected mosquitoes to cause human and/or domestic animal disease that would produce panic and terror among the populace (Council of Entomology Department Administrators (CEDA) at http://www.ceda-group.org/homelandsecurity.html; Lockwood J.A. 2009. Six-Legged Soldiers Using Insects as Weapons of War. New York, New York: Oxford University Press; Linthicum, K.J. 2008. Insects of war, terror and torture. Nature 456: 37-37). The U. S. is unprepared to respond to such an attack. However, the U. S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) (2010) has recommended that National Security Staff identify, in consultation with relevant federal agencies, a focal point from which to develop a national biosurveillance/response strategy. Florida has substantial experience in using mosquito control to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. This collective experience would be an essential part of any response to a bioterrorist attack involving mosquitoes and the pathogens that they carry. Unfortunately, the ability of Florida mosquito control to provide a swift, coordinated and effective response to such a bioterrorist attack is currently inadequate. The Graham/Talent report on Weapons of Mass Destruction (Graham et al., 2008) concluded that a bioterrorist attack was more of a threat to the American homeland than the atom bomb and recommended that the best strategy to mitigate this potential is for local experts to identify a means to detect and combat such attacks. Our long range plan for a national biosurveillance/response strategy comprises three phases: (I) organize current resources (II) upgrade Florida infrastructure for mosquito control and training in medical entomology (III) Develop and upgrade a national mosquito control/training infrastructure. This document is focused on Phase I and II.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014