Independent evaluation of Wolbachia infected male mosquito releases for control of Aedes aegypti in Harris County, Texas, using a Bayesian abundance estimator

S. Lozano, K. Pritts, D. Duguma, C. Fredregill and R. Connelly,  PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases,  16:e0010907. 2022.

Among disease vectors, Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) is one of the most insidious species in the world. The disease burden created by this species has dramatically increased in the past 50 years, and during this time countries have relied on pesticides for control and prevention of viruses borne by Ae. aegypti. The small number of available insecticides with different modes of action had led to increases in insecticide resistance, thus, strategies, like the “Incompatible Insect Technique” using Wolbachia’s cytoplasmic incompatibility are desirable. We evaluated the effect of releases of Wolbachia infected Ae. aegypti males on populations of wild Ae. aegypti in the metropolitan area of Houston, TX. Releases were conducted by the company MosquitoMate, Inc. To estimate mosquito population reduction, we used a mosquito abundance Bayesian hierarchical estimator that accounted for inefficient trapping. MosquitoMate previously reported a reduction of 78% for an intervention conducted in Miami, FL. In this experiment we found a reduction of 93% with 95% credibility intervals of 86% and 96% after six weeks of continual releases. A similar result was reported by Verily Life Sciences, 96% [94%, 97%], in releases made in Fresno, CA.

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