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Strategies of a thirteen year surveillance programme on Aedes albopictus (Stegomyia albopicta) in southern Switzerland

Flacio, Eleonora, Engeler, Lukas, Tonolla, Mauro, Lüthy, Peter, Patocchi, Nicola
Parasites & vectors 2015 v.8 no.1 pp. 208
Aedes albopictus, Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis, breeding sites, control methods, diflubenzuron, disease transmission, invasive species, monitoring, ovitraps, permethrin, risk, Alps region, Italy, Switzerland
BACKGROUND: In Ticino, a canton located south of the Alps in Switzerland, a surveillance programme on Aedes albopictus (Stegomyia albopicta) started in 2000 seeing that the region was considered at high risk of introduction based on the rapid spread of this mosquito in neighbouring Italy. METHODS: The surveillance programme, which is still ongoing, was adapted continuously to handle preventive measures of arrival, dispersal and establishment of this invasive species. The monitoring was based on ovitraps supported by reports from the population. The integrated control measures included removal of breeding sites, larvicide applications with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis or diflubenzuron and, in some circumstances, adulticide applications with permethrin. These measures involved citizens, municipalities and Civil Protection Units. RESULTS: Ae. albopictus was first observed in 2003 in Ticino. We describe the strategies adopted and their adaptations to the evolving problem since year 2000. The approach used allowed keeping the mosquito densities at tolerable levels and below the threshold of autochthonous Ae. albopictus borne disease transmission. During the surveillance period, new typologies of breeding sites for Ae. albopictus have been discovered. CONCLUSIONS: It was worth tackling the arrival of Ae. albopictus and adopting immediate control measures, followed by regular control measures after its establishment. Early intervention and prevention of the possible spread of the tiger mosquito over the territory avoided facing a crisis situation. This also reduced the difficulty of managing the situation and probably also reduced the overall cost if this had not been put in place.