National progress in dengue vector control in Vietnam: survey for Mesocyclops (Copepoda), Micronecta (Corixidae), and fish as biological control agents.

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  • 1 National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Hanoi, Vietnam.

This paper describes the process of expanding a successful dengue control program in 3 provinces in northern Vietnam into a national one and demonstrates the presence of a rich, low-cost resource that could have similar applicability to other countries in the region. The cornerstone of the preventive strategy is larval control of Aedes aegypti (L.), the major vector, using predators such as copepods, Mesocyclops spp., aided by the corixid bug Micronecta quadristrigata Bredd, and fish in large water storage containers. From 1989 to 1998, 9 species of Mesocyclops (M. woutersi Van de Velde, M. aspericornis (Daday), M. ruttneri Kiefer, M. thermocyclopoides Harada, M. affinis Van de Velde, M. ogunnus Onabamiro, M. yenae Holynska, M. cf. pehpeiensis Hu, and M. dissimilis Defaye and Kawabata) were found in natural and artificial habitats in 26 provinces throughout Vietnam. The predatory capacities of 6 of these were evaluated in the laboratory. This indicated that daily consumption/killing averaged between 16 and 41 Ae. aegypti larvae per copepod. From detailed evaluations in 9 provinces, Mesocyclops spp. were surprisingly common in 8,413 artificial containers (concrete tanks, wells, ornamental ponds and in the south, large jars). Because of existing practices for washing and water transfer from ponds and lakes in Ha Tay and Ha Bac, Mesocyclops spp. already occurred in 60-100% of the water storage containers. When the relationship between the presence or absence of Mesocyclops and Aedes larvae in 5,111 containers was analyzed by the chi-square test, their distributions were significantly related, indicating control (odds ratio = 0.56). When 3,426 containers that did not contain Mesocyclops or fish were analyzed in relation to the distribution of Aedes larvae, those with Micronecta also had significantly less Aedes (odds ratio = 0.43). Therefore, this study demonstrates that there is an abundance of local Mesocyclops spp. in Vietnam that can be incorporated into specifically designed community-based control programs aided by Micronecta and fish.