and Local Mosquito Control
control is an important and basic public health function.
The rapid spread of West Nile virus across the U.S. in the
last five years demonstrates the continuing need for organized
mosquito control activities. States and local communities
are challenged to develop and maintain these essential vector
control programs, especially in tight budgetary times and
when emergency situations have quieted.
The Association of State and Territorial
Health Officials’ Mosquito Control Collaborative,
a body comprised of state, local, and federal representatives
from public health, environmental, and agricultural agencies,
as well as other organizations closely involved with vector
control and public health, has developed a report titled
Public Health Confronts the Mosquito Control: Developing
Sustainable State and Local Mosquito Control Programs. The
report contains four sections discussing the major components
of successful state and local mosquito control efforts:
Understanding the structures and roles of the state, local
and federal participants, defining workforce and training
requirements, identifying legal authorities and funding
alternatives, and developing strategies for evaluating
programs are elements that should be included in any successful
planning effort. States, localities, and the federal government
all have active roles in mosquito control. The exact roles
of each will differ among the individual states and localities.
Whatever structure is chosen, it should be based on solid
legal authority to act. The structure of the funding mechanism
for mosquito control activities also impacts the ultimate
sustainability of the program or activities.
The foundation to any successful mosquito control action
is involving key participants early in the process. Governments
should develop a strategy for involving others, which
includes identifying and engaging a wide variety of stakeholders.
Governments should take care to identify the individuals,
organizations, and agencies with a stake in mosquito control
decisions. A variety of mechanisms should be used to target
appropriate outreach to stakeholders. Special care should
also be given to provide decision makers with solid information
upon which to base policy.
Use the Best Science and Data
It is critical that science drives the assessment of local
and state needs, strategies selected, and design and monitoring
of mosquito control programs. There are numerous proven
methodologies and practices that guide the best mosquito
control programs. All programs need to be based on an
identified need that is matched with local and state resources
and technically sound strategies. Access to epidemiologic
capacity to conduct surveillance of mosquito-borne diseases
in the human population, and monitor disease and the distribution
of relevant animal and insect populations, is critical
to begin any mosquito control activity. States and localities
must also determine their mosquito control needs. A scientific
response to combat nuisance mosquitoes may look very different
from a program to combat mosquitoes carrying disease.
Informing the Public
Mosquito control programs need the support of an informed
public. Many of the successful strategies for control
involve individuals, their families, and their neighborhoods.
The public also has concerns about the problems related
to mosquito populations and about insecticides and spraying.
Development of a communications plan that includes public
education about preventing the breeding of mosquitoes,
personal protection guidance, and the activities and success
of the agencies involved is critical to the success of
Mosquito control is a multi-discipline effort that can and
should involve many agencies and organizations at the local,
state, and federal level. When programs are started for
a specific disease threat, there is often a temptation to
abandon control efforts once the threat has passed. As history
demonstrates, the mighty mosquito always returns and frequently
with a previously unknown and unpredictable disease threat.
Public health has a responsibility and an opportunity to
be part of a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to continued
mosquito control through partnerships and teamwork at all
levels of government.
More information about state and local mosquito
control programs and a copy of Public Health Confronts
the Mosquito is available at www.astho.org/?template=mosquito_control.html.
The report also contains Planning and Action checklists
highlighting the major decision points and recommendations.
Health Confronts the Mosquito: Developing Sustainable State
and Local Mosquito Control Programs. Association of
State and Territorial Health Officials. (June 2005). Available
You Can Do About Mosquito Control
out about your local mosquito control program
them for information or questions about their mosquito
mosquito control activities
mosquito breeding sites untended pools, discarded tires,
drainage ditches with standing water.
your community doesn't have a mosquito control program
your local government officials (blue pages of the phone
book) or health department.
Information in the Public
Health Confront the Mosquito (described
guidance about starting a program.