Submitted to: Technical Bulletin of the Florida Mosquito Control Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/21/2007
Publication Date: 3/1/2008
Citation: Britch, S.C., Linthicum, K. 2008. The value of long-term mosquito surveillance data. Technical Bulletin of the Florida Mosquito Control Association. 8:2-9.
Interpretive Summary: Although mosquito and vector control agencies regularly collect mosquito population surveillance data, these data are usually only applied to short-term questions and are soon put into storage. However, taken as a whole, mosquito surveillance records compiled across the U.S. are an irreplaceable and important scientific resource that should receive more attention. We describe how long-term population data are critical elements of the ecology and biogeography of mosquitoes, which in turn are important in the epidemiology of mosquito-borne pathogens.
Technical Abstract: One of the most important activities performed by mosquito and vector control agencies is mosquito population surveillance. Mosquito population surveillance data are the written results of adult or larval mosquito sampling, recorded and preserved on paper forms or entered into electronic spreadsheets or databases. At mosquito control agencies, population surveillance data are used on a daily basis up to a seasonal basis to guide and verify mosquito control measures, and to calculate epidemiological indices. Aside from the use of current mosquito surveillance data as a part of routine tasks in mosquito control, the collective long-term record of mosquito populations is relatively underutilized. Whether considered as a long-term record at one mosquito control district, or collectively as a long-term record for a whole country, these surveillance data are a unique and irreplaceable scientific resource. Analysis of long-term mosquito population surveillance data could reveal patterns of invasion of exotic mosquito species or patterns of change of mosquito communities, or help evaluate vulnerabilities of different regions of the country to emerging mosquito-borne viral threats. Yet these long-term data are seldom compiled locally, regionally, or nationally for retrospective analyses of long term mosquito population trends or for the development of predictive population models. In this paper we discuss the positive implications of collecting, electronically preserving, and analyzing long-term mosquito surveillance data. We link long-term mosquito population data to the fields of ecology and biogeography, and we examine some of the benefits analysis of long-term population surveillance data will bring to public and animal health issues. Finally, we propose ways we could do more with mosquito surveillance data from the perspectives of both collection and analysis.