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item BARTLETT-HEALY, KRISTEN - Rutgers University
item HAMILTON, GEORGE - Rutgers University
item HEALY, SEAN - Monmouth County
item CREPEAU, TARYN - Monmouth County
item UNLU, ISIK - Mercer County
item FARAJOLLAHI, ARY - Mercer County
item FONSCEA, DINA - Rutgers University
item GAUGLER, RANDY - Rutgers University
item Clark, Gary
item Strickman, Daniel

Submitted to: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/19/2011
Publication Date: 5/3/2011
Citation: Bartlett-Healy, K., Hamilton, G., Healy, S., Crepeau, T., Unlu, I., Farajollahi, A., Fonscea, D., Gaugler, R., Clark, G.G., Strickman, D.A. 2011. Source reduction behavior as an independent measurement of the impact of a public health education campaign in an integrated vector management program for the Asian tiger mosquito. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 8:1358-1367.

Interpretive Summary: In 1986, Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, was found in Houston, Texas and determined to be introduced via the importation of used tires from Asia. Subsequently, this species has expanded its range in the U.S. to at least 30 states. It is now regarded as the most important daytime biting mosquito in the country. In addition, it has been implicated as a vector of several mosquito-borne viruses of humans and animals. In 2007, the Agriculture Research Service of the USDA established an area-wide project to study this species in New Jersey and develop an integrated mosquito management strategy that could be implemented in other parts of the country to control Ae. albopictus. The project involves field and laboratory studies conducted in two New Jersey counties in close collaboration with entomologists at Rutgers University and the ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida. Economists from Brandeis University are also participating in the project to determine costs associated with the project and the willingness of residents to pay for additional mosquito control activities. The current publication describes the activities and results of a new public health education campaign designed to reduce the number of containers in residential area with immature Ae. albopictus mosquitoes. Researchers from Rutgers University found a reduction in the number of containers in the areas receiving the educational campaign but it was not statistically different from the areas where this educational intervention was not applied. It was concluded that this passive program did not motivate residents to remove significant numbers of immature mosquito habitats from their premises.

Technical Abstract: The goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a public health educational campaign to reduce backyard mosquito-larval habitats. Three communities each, within two New Jersey counties, were randomly selected to receive (1) both education and mosquito control, (2) education only, and (3) no education or mosquito control. Four separate educational events included a 5-day elementary school curriculum in the spring, and three door to door distributions of educational brochures. Before and after each educational event, the numbers of mosquito-larval container habitats were counted in 50 randomly selected homes per study area. Container surveys allowed us to measure source reduction behavior. Although we saw reductions in container habitats in sites receiving education, they were not significantly different from the control. Our results suggest that traditional passive means of public education, which were often considered the gold standard for mosquito control programs, are not sufficient to motivate residents to reduce backyard mosquito-larval habitats.