Vector Control Tools and Resources for Environmental Health Professionals

By Foster, Kelli | Journal of Environmental Health, June 2016 | Go to article overview

Vector Control Tools and Resources for Environmental Health Professionals


Foster, Kelli, Journal of Environmental Health


In 2015 alone, 2,060 West Nile virus cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2016). In addition, more than 300,000 estimated human illnesses were caused by Lyme disease in the U.S. each year (CDC, 2014). Vectorborne illnesses are impacting public health, yet recent surveys have shown state and local vector control programs experienced budget cuts and reduced capacity (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, 2014; Li & Elligers, 2014).

In response, CDC's Environmental Health Services Branch (EHSB) is partnering with the National Network of Public Health Institutes, Texas Health Institute, National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), and Public Health Foundation to advance environmental health programs and support the professionals who protect communities from vector borne illness. These efforts have resulted in tools and resources to improve vector control programs and services and enhance professionals' skills and competencies. CDC and its partners incorporated the 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Services into these new tools to ensure a comprehensive framework for addressing vector control (Table 1). The following descriptions provide more information on these tools (Table 2).

Vector Control for Environmental Health Professionals (VCEHP)

VCEHP is a new, interactive, online curriculum designed to advance environmental health professionals' awareness of public health threats posed by vectors and pests. This is a new online version of CDC's popular Biology and Control of Vectors and Public Health Pests: The Importance of Integrated Pest Management course. The curriculum includes 12 courses on topics such as mosquito and tick biology and control, pests and vectors in food and housing environments, risk communication, and program performance assessment and improvement. Those who complete the curriculum will be eligible to receive continuing education units through NEHA. VCEHP has been pilot tested and we anticipate its final release this fall. Watch for updates about the release of this professional development opportunity.

Vector Control Program Performance Assessment and Improvement Reports

These reports result from an initiative involving 14 local health department vector control programs that used the Environmental Public Health Performance Standards to assess their delivery and use of the 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Services. Identified performance gaps were prioritized and addressed using quality improvement techniques and resources to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and capacity of vector control programs. For example, one vector control program wanted to improve their delivery of Essential Service #2. To do so, they worked with their information technology department to enhance the mosquito control program's database analysis and reporting capabilities, which led to increased efficiencies in resolving mosquito complaints. The reports describe other vector control program quality improvement projects that may be helpful to others interested in improving their vector control program.

Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram

A population health driver diagram can be used collaboratively by public health, healthcare, and community partners to identify the potential primary and secondary drivers that can achieve an identified community health objective, in this case decreasing vectorborne disease (Figure 1). Vector control programs have used the diagram to work with partners and stakeholders to accomplish objectives such as forming methods to increase coordination on mosquito control decisions and expanding vector laboratory testing to nearby counties. Vector control programs can use the population health driver diagram and corresponding implementation guidance to collaborate with partners and stakeholders to address vector control concerns.

Enhancing Environmental Health Knowledge (EEK): Vectors and Public Health Pests

The first-ever virtual vector control conference, EEK: Vectors and Public Health Pests, took place April 2016. …

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