Field Assessment of Natural Yeast-Based Larvicides for Targeting Zika Vector Mosquitoes in Belize

Larval HabitatsAedes aegypti larval habitats in Orange Walk town, Belize

A Response to Combating Zika and Future Threats: A Grand Challenge for DevelopmentĀ 

This two-year project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is a collaboration among the Indiana University School of Medicine, the University of Notre Dame Eck Institute for Global Health, the Belize Ministry of Health, Division of Vector Control, and the Belize Vector and Ecology Center. Together we will conduct both laboratory and field evaluations of a novel class of larvicides for the sustainable control of mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus.

Zika virus, a public health emergency of international concern, is spread primarily through the bite of infected daytime biting Aedes mosquitoes. Zika cases, which are linked to severe birth defects and neurological disorders, are currently occurring in many countries in the Americas, including Belize, which recently reported local transmission of Zika. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the principle vectors of Zika virus, lay eggs in natural and artificial water-filled containers located within or close to human dwellings. Larviciding, the application of microbial or chemical agents to kill mosquito larvae in aquatic habitats, is therefore a key component of integrated Aedes control and disease prevention strategies.

Given the increase of reported insecticide resistance to existing larvicides and the rising concern for negative effects of pesticides on non-target organisms, the current larvicide repertoire is faced with great challenges to sustainability. New larvicidal agents are vitally needed to address emerging arthropod-borne infectious diseases such as Zika.

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