Effectiveness of Ultra-Low Volume insecticide spraying to prevent dengue in a non-endemic metropolitan area of Brazil

by Giovanni Marini, Giorgio Guzzetta, Cecilia A. Marques Toledo, Mauro Teixeira, Roberto Rosà, Stefano Merler

Management of vector population is a commonly used method for mitigating transmission of mosquito-borne infections, but quantitative information on its practical public health impact is scarce. We study the effectiveness of Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) insecticide spraying in public spaces for preventing secondary dengue virus (DENV) cases in Porto Alegre, a non-endemic metropolitan area in Brazil. We developed a stochastic transmission model based on detailed entomological, epidemiological and population data, accounting for the geographical distribution of mosquitoes and humans in the study area and spatial transmission dynamics. The model was calibrated against the distribution of DENV cluster sizes previously estimated from the same geographical setting. We estimated a ULV-induced mortality of 40% for mosquitoes and found that the implemented control protocol avoided about 24% of symptomatic cases occurred in the area throughout the 2015–2016 epidemic season. Increasing the radius of treatment or the mortality of mosquitoes by treating gardens and/or indoor premises would greatly improve the result of control, but trade-offs with respect to increased efforts need to be carefully analyzed. We found a moderate effectiveness for ULV-spraying in public areas, mainly due to the limited ability of this strategy in effectively controlling the vector population. These results can be used to support the design of control strategies in low-incidence, non-endemic settings.

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