Location, seasonal, and functional characteristics of water holding containers with juvenile and pupal<i>Aedes aegypti</i> in Southern Taiwan: A cross-sectional study using hurdle model analyses

by Chia-Hsien Lin, Karin Linda Schiøler, Claus Thorn Ekstrøm, Flemming Konradsen

Background

Aedes aegypti carries several viruses of public health importance, including the dengue virus. Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Prevention and control of dengue mainly rely on mosquito control as there is no antiviral treatment or a WHO-approved vaccine. To reduce the Ae. aegypti population, studying the characteristics of their habitats is necessary. Aedes aegypti prefer breeding in artificial water holding containers in peridomestic or domestic settings. Their juveniles (1st – 4th instar larvae and pupae) have a tendency to cluster in certain types of containers. To inform control strategies, it is important to assess whether the pupae subgroup has a distinct distribution by container type as compared to the overall group of juveniles. The objective of this study was to assess for distinct predictors (location, season, and function) of Ae. aegypti juveniles and pupae numbers in water holding containers by applying hurdle model analyses.

Methodology

The field component of this study was carried out from November 2013 to July 2015 in Southern Taiwan where annual autochthonous dengue has been reported for decades. Water holding containers with stagnant water were identified in a predefined urban area in Kaohsiung City (KH) and a rural area in Pingtung County. Given that mosquito survey data often include many containers with zero Ae. aegypti, a negative binomial hurdle model was applied to model the association between location, seasonal and functional characteristics of the water holding containers and the number of Ae. aegypti in each container.

Results

The results showed that Ae. aegypti were almost exclusively present in the urban area. In this area, the negative binomial hurdle model predicted significantly more juveniles as well as pupae Ae. aegypti in water holding containers during the wet season when compared to the dry season. Notably, the model predicted more juveniles in containers located on private property compared to those on government property, irrespective of season. As for pupae, the model predicted higher amounts in indoor containers used for water storage compared to outdoor water storage containers, irrespective of season. However, for the specific category ‘other water receptacle’, higher amounts of pupae were predicted in outdoor compared to indoor in water receptacles, such as flower pot saucers and water catchment buckets.

Conclusions

The difference in predictors for juveniles and the pupae subgroup was identified and it may be of importance to the control strategies of the authorities in KH. At present the authorities focus control activities on all water holding containers found on government property. To improve the ongoing control efforts in KH, the focus of control activities maintained by the KH authorities should be expanded to indoor water storage containers and outdoor water receptacles on both private and government properties to adequately address habitats harboring greater numbers of pupae. In addition, it is proposed to increase community engagement in managing water in all types of water holding containers located on privately owned properties (indoor and outdoor), especially during wet season.

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