Developing a framework for Integrated Vector Control

Dengue and yellow fever vector, Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aegypti) mosquito biting a human. U.S. Department of Agriculture

Jorge Cano Ortega is a member of the GAHI team working primarily on the mapping of lymphatic filariasis in Africa and Asia. He presented his research at the first workshop for the development of a framework for integrated vector control, in September 2013 in California.

19 November 2013

Jorge Cano Ortega is a member of the GAHI team working primarily on the mapping of lymphatic filariasis in Africa and Asia. He was invited to present his progress at the first workshop for the development of a framework for integrated vector control, in Palm Springs, California. Jorge writes here about his experience.

Integrated vector management (IVM) is a decision-making process to optimize the use of resources for vector control. In the context of neglected tropical diseases (NTD), vectors include mosquitoes (lymphatic filariasis), sand flies (leishmaniasis), black flies (trachoma and onchocerciasis), among others. The aim of the IVM approach is to contribute to the achievement of the global targets set for vector-borne disease (VBD) control, by making vector control more efficient, cost effective, ecologically sound and sustainable. Use of IVM helps vector control programmes in several ways:

  • to find and use more local evidence
  • to integrate interventions where appropriate
  • to collaborate within the health sector and with other sectors, as well as with households and communities.

As part of our research on vector control, my work includes mapping the distribution of lymphatic filariasis infection and developing the Global Atlas of Lymphatic Filariasis. In September, I was invited to present this work during the VI International Convention of the Society for Vector Ecology in La Quinta, California. Immediately following the convention, Prof. Steve Lindsay and colleagues from Durham University held a first workshop to develop a framework for integrated vector management.

The primary goal of this first workshop was to provide evidence to support the development of IVM. To accomplish this goal various objectives were outlined:

  • share findings
         mapping VBD distribution
         modelling impact of vector control on malaria and lymphatic filariasis
         review of the effectiveness of vector control interventions
  • discuss incorporation of individual work into a strategic framework of VBD control interventions
  • identify gaps and additional evidence needed to build the case for IVM
Malaria vector Anopheles stephensi. U.S. Centers for Disease Control

Nick Golding from Oxford University presented progress on mapping distribution of more VBDs, including malaria, dengue and leishmaniasis. Participants then drafted some interesting ideas to integrate all the spatial models that have been developed to date in order for managers of vector-borne disease control programmes to get a better sense of distribution and potential overlapping of VBD in their countries.

The result of this collaboration between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Oxford and Durham universities will be a set of maps of VBD distribution presented during the second workshop at Durham University in April 2014.

Another interesting research area is the integration of spatial modelling outcomes into mathematical models, and vice versa. Chris Stone and Nakul Chitnis from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute presented their progress on the development of a mathematical model to determine the effect of vector control on malaria and lymphatic filariasis.

Meeting attendants also discussed making the best use out of new communication technologies to develop more practical, comprehensive and efficient materials. It was widely agreed that a key milestone will be the development of a web-based tool which integrates decision-making algorithms, workflows, and maps of disease distribution to guide the integrated strategies of vector control. 

These combined efforts are also expected to produce enhanced guidelines and other materials - protocols, standard operating procedures - to complement the current tools already available for the implementation of effective IVM programmes.

If you would like to learn more about our work on vector control, jcano [dot] ortega [at] lshtm [dot] ac [dot] uk (please get in touch).

Dr. Jorge Cano Ortega