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Prevention by Mosquito Control

The best way to reduce mosquitoes is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays her eggs, like artificial containers that hold water in and around the home (see figure 2, video 2 and 3). In urban areas, Aedes mosquitos breed on water collections in artificial containers such as plastic cups, used tires, broken bottles, flower pots, etc (see also transmission of dengue). Periodic draining or removal of artificial containers is the most effective way of reducing the breeding grounds for mosquitos. Larvicide treatment is another effective way to control the vector larvae but the larvicide chosen should be long-lasting and preferably. There are some very effective insect growth regulators (IGRs) available which are both safe and long-lasting (e.g. pyriproxyfen). For reducing the adult mosquito load, fogging with insecticide is somewhat effective.

To eliminate standing water:
- Unclog roof gutters;
- Empty children's wading pools at least once a week;
- Change water in birdbaths at least weekly;
- Get rid of old tires in your yard, as they collect standing water;
- Empty unused containers, such as flower pots, regularly or store them upside down;
- Drain any collected water from afire pit regularly.

Click to enlarge
Figure 2: Check for Aedes mosquito breeding in your home. Source: National Environmental Agency, Singapore. (Click on image to enlarge)

Natural control - Mesocyclops
In 1998, scientists from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) in Australia and Vietnam's Ministry of Health introduced a scheme that encouraged children to place a water bug, the crustacean Mesocyclops, in water tanks and discarded containers where the Aedes aegypti mosquito was known to thrive. This method is viewed as being more cost-effective and more environmentally friendly than pesticides, though not as effective, and requires the continuing participation of the community.

Even though this method of mosquito control was successful in rural provinces, not much is known about how effective it could be if applied to cities and urban areas. The Mesocyclops can survive and breed in large water containers, but would not be able to do so in small containers of which most urban area have within their homes. Also, Mesocyclops are hosts for the guinea worm, a pathogen that causes a parasite infection, and so this method of mosquito control cannot be used in countries that are still susceptible to the guinea worm. The biggest dilemma with Mesocyclops is that its success depends on the participation of the community. This idea of a possible parasite bearing creature in household water containers dissuades people from continuing the process of inoculation, and without the support and work of everyone living in the city, this method would not be successful.

Video 2: Dengue prevention warning
Video 3: Dengue Prevention message