Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet. They represent a Clear and Present Danger to global health and economies.
Mosquitoes transmit (are vectors) of malaria, a blood parasite responsible for the death of roughly one person about every ninety seconds, a figure equivalent to about five 747 Jumbo jets crashing every day.
The emotional and financial burden they inflict on the communities they affect is immense and the economic impact on the limited budgets and resources of the countries trying to control them is enormous.
In 2021, after over two decades of spending billions of US Dollars trying to it, malaria increased from 213 million to 228 million, its incidence rose from 222.9 to 232.8 cases per 1,000 people and total malaria deaths increased from 534,000 to 602,000, a mortality rate increase from 56 to 61.5 deaths per 100,000 population.
Mosquitoes also transmit another blood parasite that causes filariasis or elephantiasis, an incapacitating condition that leaves those affected unable to work and completely dependent on others. They also transmit several hundred viruses, with names familiar to many like Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, and West Nile, and many with strange names like Mayaro, Bunyamwera, and O’nyong-nyong fevers.
The global incidence of Dengue Fever has increased over 8-fold over the last two decades, going from 505,430 cases in 2,000, to over 5.2 million in 2019. Today, about half of the world’s population is at risk, with around 390 million global dengue infections, about 36,000 deaths, and billions of US Dollars in losses. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic may have hampered case reporting in several countries and these figures are considered conservative estimates.
In Latin America and the Caribbean Basin, the Zika outbreak of 2016 cost an estimated 0.06% of the gross domestic product. While a seemingly low figure, it represents a loss of about US$ 62.5M from a national budget of US$ 104B. And that was just that year!
Three decades of designing and evaluating national and privately-owned mosquito population reduction campaigns around the world have provided ample evidence that most of them have failed. Consequently, the malaria burden on many countries surpasses their capacity to respond to it. Most programs are not integrated vector management interventions and rely on two main tools: mosquito nets, and indoor residual spraying. They are not established as the rational decision-making process that determines the most appropriate mix of interventions drawing on resources beyond health, both public and private public health entomologists rely upon.
My approach is to design, help implement, or revitalize mosquito population reduction measures that are tailored to the local conditions and vectors following this concept, guide them through active surveillance, and evaluate and adjust them periodically to ensure their effectiveness. The idea is to use as many tools in the mosquito control tool bag as possible and appropriate for the country and area and pave the way for the implementation of those not active. The plans I produce:
The rise in vector-borne disease morbidity and mortality around the Globe makes it imperative that mosquito population suppression measures are multi-disciplinary and engage the communities benefiting from them. After all, the resources available to every government confronting this situation are very limited.
My energy is focused on creating approaches that enlist as many natural predators as possible and engages communities in source reduction measures and environmental management activities that make their neighborhoods less favorable for the production and proliferation of mosquitoes and other biting insects without relying on insecticides. I concentrate my attention on natural processes and biological materials and select environmentally-sound and target-specific materials and products to enhance the interventions when necessary. My goal is to reduce or eliminate the target insects while causing no harm to the community members or the environment. My success during the past three decades is the result of helping communities help themselves with minimum external assistance.
The environmentally-sound and targeted interventions and procedures selected are based on the clients’ specific parameters and conditions and implemented using the latest available technology to maximize the impact on target insects and cause no harm to non-targeted insects and animals.
My field team is composed of experienced, multidisciplinary experts and trainers with a combined knowledge and experience in the control of mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects. We follow the guidelines established by the US Environmental Protection Agency and recommendations provided by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and abide by all pertinent national and international laws and regulations designed to reduce vector populations while protecting the environment.