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Aedes aegypti is the main vector of dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses. Controlling populations of vector mosquito species in urban environments is a major challenge and being able to determine what aquatic habitats should be prioritized for controlling Ae.
Therefore, our objective was to leverage on the Miami-Dade County, Florida immature mosquito surveillance system based on requested by citizen complaints through calls to determine what are the most important aquatic habitats in the proliferation of Ae. We used a tobit model for Ae. These results are indicating that storm drains, bromeliads and garbage cans had significantly more pupae in relation to larvae when compared to tires, traditionally know as productive aquatic habitats for Ae.
Ultimately, the methodology and results from this study can be used by mosquito control agencies to identify habitats that should be prioritized in mosquito management and control actions, as well as to guide and improve policies and increase community awareness and engagement. Moreover, by targeting the most productive aquatic habitats this approach will allow the development of critical emergency outbreak responses by directing the control response efforts to the most productive aquatic habitats.
The prevalence and incidence of mosquito-borne viral diseases are increasing globally. Dengue is of great public health concern currently occurring in countries 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , and more than 1 million cases of Zika virus and its associated microcephaly and fetus malformation were reported in the Americas between and 5 , 6 , 7 , 8.
Despite the availability of an effective vaccine 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , a major yellow fever virus outbreak was reported in Brazil 15 and across Africa representing a heavy toll for countries like Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa 16 , 17 ,Therefore, due to the lack of effective treatments, controlling populations of vector mosquito species is considered the most effective method to prevent the transmission of arboviruses to humans 19 , 20 ,Aedes aegypti is the main vector of dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses in urban areasIt is widely distributed in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world and is well adapted to thrive in urban environments 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , where there is increased contact between mosquito vectors and human hosts, thus facilitating arbovirus transmissionControlling populations of vector mosquito species in urban environments is a major challenge.
Aedes aegypti is well adapted to and will successfully exploit many artificial and natural habitats present in urban environments, presenting a major challenge for the development of control strategiesReactive control strategies based on the use of larvicide and adulticide are widely ineffective due to the inherent difficulty in reaching cryptic breeding habitats and resting adult mosquitoesMoreover, Ae.
Alternative vector control strategies such as the release of genetically modified or Wolbachia infected mosquitoes are still years away from being used in real-world operations and their effectiveness in controlling not only mosquito populations but also in decreasing the incidence of arbovirus transmission is yet to be proven 35 ,Controlling populations of vector mosquitoes in urban areas is a difficult task and control strategies based on the Integrated Vector Management IVM framework are complex relying on many actions that rationally build on each other.
However, the IVM key components such as mosquito surveillance, source reduction i. Therefore, being able to determine the role of the aquatic habitats that are widely present in urban areas and are responsible for maintaining Ae.
We hypothesize that among all the potential aquatic habitats present in urban areas of Miami-Dade County, Florida that are suitable for Ae. Therefore, our objective was to leverage on the immature mosquito surveillance system based on requested by citizen complaints through calls 31 to determine what are the most important aquatic habitats in the proliferation of Ae.
From a total of 3, household inspections, Ae. From all of the many aquatic habitats in which Ae. Bromeliads were the most commonly inspected breeding habitat totaling inspections, followed by storm drains, and buckets totaling and inspections, respectively.
On the other hand, the less commonly inspected breeding habitat were garbage cans totaling 75 inspections, followed by planters totaling 70 inspections. Aedes aegypti was most commonly found in bromeliads, buckets, and flower pots, considering both the total number of larvae and pupae.
However, the average number of Ae. Flower pots and buckets yielded an overall higher average of immature mosquitos larvae and pupae , with an average of 16, 14, and 12 specimens per inspection, respectively. On the other hand, bromeliads yielded a lower average of 5 specimens per inspection, and storm drains yielded an average of 2 Table 1. The results from the robust regression to investigate the association between daily rainfall and the decrease in the percentage of Ae.
The percentage of Ae. Robust regression estimates of the linear association between daily rainfall and the percentage of Aedes aegypti larvae over the total of larvae and pupae within aquatic habitats in Miami-Dade County, Florida, from June 1st, to October 31st,The presence of potential aquatic habitats for the proliferation of vector mosquitoes in urban areas is unavoidable, and many of these aquatic habitats such as plastic containers, garbage cans, tires, bromeliads, and buckets are ubiquitous in urban areas around the world 40 , 41 ,Our results are indicating that although Ae.
Among those aquatic habitats, bromeliads, storm drains, and garbage cans had a significantly lower percentage of Ae. Other aquatic habitats such as buckets and flower pots are of importance for controlling Ae. Moreover, buckets and flower pots can be drained and covered more easily than bromeliads and storm drains, making these habitats more transient negatively affecting mosquito development.
On the other hand, our results are indicating that aquatic habitats with lower percentages of Ae. Ornamental bromeliads are widely used in landscaping. These plants naturally accumulate rainwater and draining them to avoid mosquito breeding is not feasible. Insecticide application to treat ornamental bromeliad patches is also challenging since successfully propelling insecticides into all leaf axils and water tanks is an arduous task that has to be done frequently in order to avoid the proliferation of mosquitoes.
Storm drains are an integral part of urban areas and are inherently difficult to be managed and serviced to avoid the proliferation of vector mosquitoesStorm drains not only commonly have large volumes of stagnated water but also have many cryptic habitats in the complex underground tunnel system. However, it has been shown that modifications such as making the base of storm drains higher to allow the stagnated water to drain instead of accumulating can reduce mosquito proliferation in this aquatic habitatThe number of pupae in a given aquatic habitat has been widely used as a proxy for mosquito production i.
Such a strategy allows for the identification of the most productive aquatic habitats regardless of its frequency 45 ,Even though the result from the tobit model indicated a significant negative association between daily rainfall and the percentage of Ae. This result is an indication that factors other than rainfall or climate are driving the Ae.
Human behavior and socioeconomic condition are known drivers for the proliferation of vector mosquitoesIt is not surprising that the aquatic habitats with a lower percentage of Ae.
Ornamental bromeliads used in landscaping require maintenance and are frequently watered, whereas storm drains often have areas constantly flooded with water that are suitable for Ae. In this context, the surveillance of immature mosquito populations in urban areas is essential for guiding mosquito control actions under the IVM framework.
The distribution and abundance of vector mosquitoes are driven by complex multi-causal variables, being strongly associated with seasonality. Different species peak in abundance and expand their range in different months of the year depending on their geographic location 48 , 49 ,Moreover, not only can Ae. For example, ornamental bromeliads are extensively used in landscaping in Miami and are known for breeding Ae. Storm drains are increasingly becoming more relevant for the control of Ae.
Our results indicate that not only are a large number of Ae. Controlling vector mosquitoes in storm drains is particularly challenging due to the inherent difficulty in reaching all the possible aquatic habitats within the complex underground network of tunnels.
Determining the most important aquatic habitats for Ae. Targeting and concentrating control efforts in the most productive containers will render control strategies more effective in decreasing adult Ae.
Moreover, the inclusion of other variables such as climate and seasonality can be used for the development of mathematical models to predict fluctuations in the population dynamics of Ae. These models can help mosquito control agencies to develop preventative actions and identify and manage potential arbovirus hotspot areas 61 ,The presence of highly productive aquatic habitats for Ae.
Human behavior and socioeconomic conditions should also be considered. Workers that spent a disproportionate amount of time outdoors, such as those in the construction and agriculture workforce, are often more exposed to vector mosquitoes and may be more exposed to arboviruses 63 , 64 , 65 ,Therefore, it is essential to remove the most productive aquatic habitats from areas with high concentrations of outdoor workers, such as construction sites, outdoor sports events, and outdoor entertainment areas.
Environmental ordinance is key to control populations of vector mosquito species, and source reduction is an essential element for its effectiveness 20 ,Determining the most important aquatic habitats in a given area can shed light on the trends of arbovirus transmission risk in urban areas as well as providing important guidelines and new regulations for urban renovations and the urbanization of new areas.
Finally, our results can help mosquito control agencies identify where vector mosquitoes are breeding and being produced in higher quantities, and what aquatic habitats should be prioritized in control strategies. Such a framework can lead to the development of more effective preventative strategies that are not only more successful but are also more cost-effective.
As the incidence of arboviral diseases rises globally 67 , 68 , 69 , including in previously non-endemic regions such as in Europe and North America 70 , 71 , 72 , 73 , there is a growing need for the development of contingency plans and emergency response guidelines to deal with arbovirus outbreaks.
The identification of the most important aquatic habitats for the proliferation of vector mosquito populations in urban areas that should be targeted and prioritized in mosquito control efforts during emergency situations is essential for the development of effective responses to this increasing threat. The results of this study can greatly help to guide and improve mosquito control operations in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
The identification of aquatic habitats in which more Ae. Great results can be achieved towards the reduction of Ae. The results of this study can also positively impact policy, including more effective regulations and guidelines. Moreover, we were also able to highlight the importance of key aquatic habitats that can be overlooked in day to day mosquito control operations. For example, we were able to show the importance of ornamental bromeliads not only in serving as suitable habitats for Ae.
These results are of importance since not long ago ornamental bromeliads were not considered suitable aquatic habitats for Ae. Only after the Zika virus outbreak in the importance of ornamental bromeliads in Miami-Dade in supporting the proliferation of Ae.
The present study had limitations. The collections were not done in the same aquatic habitat over time as in Wilke 31 , and the immature mosquitoes were not exhaustively collected from all aquatic habitats. It also has to be considered the presence of other cryptic habitats that were undersampled. In this study, we were able to collect immature mosquitoes throughout the incorporated areas of Miami, ranging from rural to highly urbanized areas, thus providing a comprehensive knowledge of how immature Ae.
However, we were unable to assess the exact contribution of each aquatic habitat to the proliferation of Ae. Ultimately, the methodology from this study can be used by mosquito control agencies to identify habitats that should be prioritized in mosquito management and control actions as well as to guide and improve policies and increase community awareness and engagement.
The results of this study will allow not only the development of targeted and more effective strategies to control Ae. Here we focus on Miami-Dade County, Florida. Miami-Dade is the most populous county in Florida and serves as a major gateway to the United States to people coming and going from South and Central America as well as from the Caribbean region 74 ,Miami was the most affected county in the continental United States during the Zika virus outbreak inMoreover, imported and 14 locally acquired dengue cases were reported in in Miami, causing the Florida Department of Health to issue a mosquito-borne illness alert 77 ,Miami has the ideal conditions for the proliferation of vector mosquitoes.
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