Implementing Comprehensive Mosquito Control Activities in Puerto Rico

In 2016, after the chikungunya and Zika outbreaks, CDC provided funding through a cooperative agreement to the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust to establish the Puerto Rico Vector Control Unit (PRVCU). The Unit’s goal is to increase the surveillance and control of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread dengue, Zika, and chikungunya in Puerto Rico. For the past four years, PRVCU has worked with different partners on the island, including the Dengue Branch in San Juan, P.R., to implement and evaluate activities in mosquito surveillance, mosquito control, and community participation.

Puerto Rico Vector Control Unit staff participate in different community activities to share mosquito control and prevention messages.

PRVCU staff participate in different community activities to share mosquito control and prevention messages.

PRVCU uses the Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) approach to control mosquitoes. IMM uses a combination of methods to control mosquitoes based on an understanding of mosquito biology and the mosquito life cycle. Some activities include mosquito surveillance, testing mosquitoes for viruses, mosquito control, community engagement, educational activities, and partnership development with governmental and non-governmental agencies. Municipalities working with PRVCU include Aguadilla, Bayamón, Caguas, Culebra, Dorado, Ponce, and Toa Baja.

COPA Project

Puerto Rico Vector Control Unit staff use specialized vans to release the male mosquitoes with Wolbachia in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

PRVCU staff use specialized vans to release the male mosquitoes with Wolbachia in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The Communities Organized to Prevent Arboviruses (COPA) project in Ponce is one of PRVCU’s biggest collaborations. Every year the COPA project monitors the number of mosquitoes and performs diagnostic testing on 3,500 volunteers to determine previous infection with a virus spread by Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. In August 2020, the PRVCU began evaluating a new method of mosquito control—using male mosquitoes with Wolbachia. Every week, PRVCU releases male mosquitoes with Wolbachia into study zones set up in Ponce, P.R. Researchers want to determine whether male mosquitoes with Wolbachia reduce the numbers of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. Researchers also will monitor the number of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika cases in study zones to see if they differ from cases reported outside the study zones.

Visit PRVCUexternal icon website to learn more about them.