Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya

 Director Avriel Diaz setting up mosquito traps in the field.

Director Avriel Diaz setting up mosquito traps in the field.

 

In 2016…

A devastating earthquake (magnitude 7.8) struck the province of Manabí in coastal Ecuador, resulting in severe destruction, morbidity and mortality. Following the disaster, the risk of Aedes aegypti-transmitted illnesses (e.g., dengue, chikungunya, Zika) increased due to damaged housing, increased water storage, increased exposure to infectious mosquito bites, and limited access to healthcare. Following the earthquake, a major epidemic of Zika fever occurred, with 85% of cases in Ecuador reported within 100 km of the earthquake epicenter. Zika is a global health concern because it can cause a spectrum of congenital complications. Two years after the earthquake, many damaged homes have been abandoned at the edges of inhabited communities, and these areas do not receive mosquito control by the public health sector. We hypothesize that abandoned areas have greater vegetation cover and shade, and provide larval habitat and refuge for adult Ae. aegypti in 3 urban and 3 periurban sites in Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador. Here, we examine the effect of the spatial distribution of abandoned homes in a post-disaster scenario, vegetation cover and neighborhood housing conditions on larval habitat, average number of mosquito larvae/pupae/adults per site, and the prevalence of arboviruses (identified by RT-PCR) in pools of adult Ae. aegypti. These findings improve our understanding of how abandoned sites following natural disasters may amplify human arbovirus infection risk, information that will inform interventions to reduce the risk of infectious diseases in affected communities.