NACCHO Report: Vector Control Assessment in Zika Virus Priority Jurisdictions

NACCHO, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), has released a summary of findings evaluating vector control capacity across ten Zika Virus (ZIKV) priority jurisdictions. This initiative was launched by the CDC Zika State Coordination Task Force (SCTF) and the Zika Vector Issues Team as a part of their national ZIKV response efforts. Mosquito control activities were assessed across jurisdictions in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Los Angeles County, each identified as vulnerable for potential impact resulting from ZIKV. NACCHO supported this effort by developing and distributing an electronic quantitative tool to measure vector control competency for local health departments (LHDs) and vector control agencies serving these localities.

NACCHO and the CDC compiled findings and implications into this slide deck, aiming to further advance LHD vector control and ZIKV response planning. Collectively, the responses illustrate that mosquito control programs, expertise, activities, and financial resources are highly variable throughout the ten jurisdictions. The assessment revealed a wide range of capacity, including agencies with zero to minimal capabilities and others with fully operational programs, equipped with advanced integrated mosquito management resources.

LHD and partner competency was measured according to the CDC guidance document, “Zika Virus Mosquito Control for Professionals,” and the American Mosquito Control Association. The following topics were included as a part of the survey:

  1. Ten assessment questions covering five core competencies, including:
  • Routine mosquito surveillance, standardized strapping, species identification;
  • Larviciding and adulticiding capabilities;
  • Routine vector control (e.g., chemical, biological, source reduction, or environmental management);
  • Species specific activities; and
  • Pesticide resistance testing.
  1. Five supplemental competencies were also assessed, including:
  • Licensed pesticide application requirements;
  • Non-chemical vector control;
  • Community outreach and education activities;
  • Communication with local health departments on surveillance and epidemiology; and
  • Cooperation with nearby/partner vector control programs.

Based on the CDC framework for vector control competency, the five core competencies were weighed to rank each organization as fully capable, competent, or needs improvement. Of the 381 local vector control departments and districts identified in the ten jurisdictions, all 190 responses (54% response rate) were analyzed for competency. The results indicated that 21% ranked as “fully capable”, 68% ranked as “needs improvement” in one or more competency, and 9% ranked as competent.

The full assessment also breaks down the overall rankings by each jurisdiction. Overall, more than half of the respondents performed non-chemical vector control activities, while one third only used chemical controls. Additionally, nearly all participating agencies indicated basing their treatment decisions on vector surveillance information (i.e. only perform mosquito abatement activities when surveillance indicates a high population of mosquitoes). A majority also performed community outreach, engagement and communication activities between LHDs and clinics/hospitals on epidemiology and human surveillance. As this assessment was not designed to be a scientific survey/study, the information is not necessarily generalizable and the respondents may not be representative of the true population of vector control authorities. Additional studies are under way to complete a baseline understanding of mosquito surveillance and control activities in the United States.

The full slide deck is now available on the NACCHO website at this link. Findings and implications from this assessment will be presented at the upcoming Vector Control Summit on February 27-28, 2017 in Atlanta, hosted by the CDC in collaboration with the CDC Foundation. Dr. Oscar Alleyne, NACCHO Senior Adviser for Public Health Programs, will speak at the event, sharing recommendations for future steps related to Zika preparedness and response, particularly at the local level. NACCHO will be tweeting from the Summit on Monday and Tuesday, and encourages members, partners and others to follow @NACCHOalerts and join the conversation. Be sure to check back on this blog for an update from the Summit in the coming weeks.

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