World Mosquito Day

August 20th is World Mosquito Day, a day that commemorates Sir Ronald Ross’s demonstration in 1897 that a female anopheline mosquito is responsible for transmitting malaria to approximately half the world’s human population. Though the use of quinine to treat malaria provided some relief, his discovery paved the way for the development of vector control interventions targeting mosquitoes that reduced its spread and eventually eliminated it from hundreds of countries.

Dr. Ross had conducted trials with Culex (possibly Cx. fatigans) fed on birds infected with bird malaria, Protesoma relictum (now Plasmodium relictum) in 1894 noting that the plasmodium developed in the mosquito gut. This led him to suspect the same might happen with malaria, which he later confirmed through trials on human subjects.

By Manuel Lluberas

I am a public health entomologist with extensive experience in the control of insects of public health and veterinary importance obtained during the past three decades, including twelve years as medical entomologist and medical intelligence officer for the US Navy attached to the US Marines. I have provided technical assistance on the design, implementation, evaluation, and technical capacity building on integrated vector management to ministries of health and agriculture, private and public entities, and UN agencies in four continents. Some of my most significant accomplishments include designing the indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaign against malaria vectors of the US President's Malaria Initiative for Sub Saharan Africa (PMI); helping the University of South Florida and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation develop the habitat signatures for mosquito vectors in Cambodia using spectral signatures from sub-meter pixel data obtained from 5 satellites; and conducting Entomological Monitoring and Vector Control Capacity Evaluations against Aedes aegypti (vector of Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya) for portions of Central America under projects with USAID. Other projects include developing and implementing the mosquito population suppression strategies in Banda Aceh and Western Sumatra, Indonesia after the Tsunami of 2005; helping Haiti's Ministry of Health and Population develop mosquito control protocols in the aftermath of the earthquake of 2010; and assisting the Pan Africa Tsetse fly and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign reduce sleeping sickness in parts of West Africa. I have been a member of the Vector Control Working Group of WHO’s Roll Back Malaria Campaign since its inception, have over thirty technical articles on vector management published, wrote a column on Malaria World for two years, contributed to the publication of WHO’s Global Plan for Insecticide Resistance Management in Malaria Vectors, and drafted the first two drafts of WHO’s Operational Manual for Indoor Residual Spraying. I’ve presented numerous keynote addresses and lectures on integrated vector management in Spanish and English in several international congresses on vector control in Africa, Europe, South America, and the United States, and provide simultaneous translation from Spanish to English for the Latin America Symposia for the American Mosquito Control Association. I was twice selected as finalist for the Rear Admiral Charles S. Stevenson Award for excellence in Preventive Medicine, the top award in US Navy Medicine and received the Meritorious Service Medal from the American Mosquito Control Association. I hold an FAA certification as a Remote Pilot of a small, Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS or drone) and a 25-Ton Master Captain Certificate with sailing endorsement from the US Coast Guard.

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