Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Current Status of Mosquito Control Programs in North Carolina: The Need for Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Current Status of Mosquito Control Programs in North Carolina: The Need for Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Article excerpt


The primary objectives of mosquito control programs (MCPs) are to reduce populations of mosquitoes involved in disease cycles, as well as to suppress nuisance pests impacting residents and tourists. To accomplish this, a well-organized MCP uses a multifaceted approach including surveillance, source reduction, biological control, public education, larvicides, and adulticides (Conlon, 2011). The structure of MCPs in U.S. communities depends largely on dynamic state resources and legislative priorities (Challett, 1988, 1991, 1994; Dale, Carlson, & Easton, 2008; Hazeltine, 1988). The most successful MCPs are those with reliable sources of funding (Challett, 1988, 1994; Conlon, 2011) that allow continuity of staff and long-term surveillance of potential vectors. Budgets for MCPs range from $40,000 to $6.5 million annually, depending on regional needs, funding, and program goals (Challett, 1988, 1994; Conlon, 2011).

Mosquito control is often facilitated by government agencies such as public works, agriculture, public health, and environmental health. In some U.S. states, however, MCPs are publicly funded and legislatively mandated to carry out control. Florida has an organized and successful MCP with 56 currently active mosquito control districts (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services [FDACS], 2012). The Florida Coordinating Council on Mosquito Control and the Florida Mosquito Control Association facilitate communication between state agencies and stakeholders involved with mosquito control (FDACS, 2012). Mosquito control in Florida has likely been successful due to public and political involvement and support (Dale et al., 2008; Mulrennan & Sowder, 1954).

California has a network of MCPs known for implementing integrated pest management practices with strong public outreach and involvement (California Department of Public Health, 2011). Urban MCPs are often funded at a higher rate than rural MCPs, largely depending on personnel and pesticide costs (Challett, 1988, 1994; Conlon, 2011). In some cases, MCPs are not in place, primarily due to budget constraints or lack of public awareness. A lack of published studies exists that evaluates the cost-benefit relationship for MCPs; hence, MCPs are often underutilized and their importance to public health underestimated (Tomerini, 2005).

A variety of agencies from the global (e.g., World Health Organization) and federal (e.g., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], and National Institutes of Health) levels supports mosquito control research. The North Carolina Division of Public Health and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) through the Public Health Pest Management (PHPM) section have historically been involved in mosquito control. These state agencies worked in close collaboration with the American Mosquito Control Association and North Carolina Mosquito and Vector Control Association (NCMVCA) to meet the needs of stakeholders and communities.

The emergence of West Nile virus (WNV; Flaviviridae family, Flavivirus genus) in the U.S. in 1999 brought increased attention to mosquito-borne diseases and public health. In 1999, 62 human cases of West Nile encephalitis (WNE) occurred in New York with seven fatalities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013). Five years later, in 2004, 2,539 human WNE cases and 100 fatalities occurred in the U.S. (CDC, 2013). Ten years later, in 2009, 1,021 human WNE cases and 32 fatalities occurred in the U.S. (CDC, 2013). The rapid and continued spread of WNV across the U.S. facilitated an increase in state and federal funding for MCPs (Herring, 2010).

As human cases of WNE waned, however, budgets for MCPs also decreased, due in part to lack of concern for mosquito-borne disease and a struggling U.S. economy. In 2010, the federal government proposed cutting $26.7 million from the 2011 budget for the vectorborne disease surveillance program at CDC (Couzin-Frankel, 2010). …

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