Zika and Mosquito related activities in the Healy Lab
BIOLOGY and CONTROL OF POTENTIAL ZIKA VECTORS
The Yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) are important nuisance mosquitoes and vectors of disease causing pathogens. These species of mosquitoes lay eggs in backyard containers close to where people live. They do not fly far from their larval habitats to search for a blood meal. In addition, these mosquitoes will bite at all times of the day, including daylight hours. Our laboratory is heavily involved in research on these species. In particular, we are interested in factors contributing to development rates, the effectiveness of larvicides on these species at different temperatures, nectar feeding in the adults, and effective trapping strategies.
INSECTICIDE RESISTANCE MONITORING
Our laboratory is currently in the process of developing a statewide Insecticide resistance monitoring program at LSU. In 2016, we began piloting the program in three parishes in Louisiana. Our goal is to make this a statewide program, where we can evaluate both Culex and container Aedes mosquitoes for insecticide resistance. In 2016, we received Zika related CDC funds to help support a statewide insecticide resistance monitoring effort. In this program, we will test field populations of mosquitoes to the most commonly used mosquito adulticides in Louisiana to determine if the products remain effective over time.
STATEWIDE SURVEY OF CONTAINER MOSQUITOES
In 2016, we received Zika related CDC funds to collaborate with the Louisiana Office of Public Health, Tulane University, and the local mosquito control programs in Louisiana to determine the distribution of mosquitoes that commonly lay eggs in containers (ie. those species that are potential vectors of Zika). We plan to purchase supplies (traps that collect mosquito eggs), which will be sent to each parish in Louisiana. We will then begin to sample weekly in those parishes, and identify those mosquito eggs to species. We will then use this information to determine the distribution of potential vectors of Zika virus throughout the state.
TRAPPING OF ADULT MOSQUITOES FOR ZIKA TESTING
Our laboratory is equipped to assist the state in collection of adult mosquitoes for Zika virus testing. We currently have plans to trap in the area, and have mosquitoes tested at the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine.