Luke Alphey (1,2), Mark Benedict (3), Romeo Bellini (4), Gary G. Clark (5), David A. Dame (6), Mike W. Service (7), Stephen L. Dobson (8)
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. April 2010, 10(3): 295-311. doi:10.1089/vbz.2009.0014.
Effective vector control, and more specifically mosquito control, is a complex and difficult problem, as illustrated by the continuing prevalence (and spread) of mosquito-transmitted diseases. The sterile insect technique and similar methods control certain agricultural insect pest populations in a species-specific, environmentally sound, and effective manner; there is increased interest in applying this approach to vector control. Such an approach, like all others in use and development, is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and will be more appropriate in some situations than others. In addition, the proposed release of pest insects, and more so genetically modified pest insects, is bound to raise questions in the general public and the scientific community as to such a method's efficacy, safety, and sustainability. This article attempts to address these concerns and indicate where sterile-insect methods are likely to be useful for vector control.
Link to the article
VBORNET comment: 2010-06-21
The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a method of pest insect control with a strong record of success against a range of agricultural pest insects and for mosquitoes control. Several methods are grouped within the SIT denomination: radiation, Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility, recombinant DNA methods and others. SIT is not the solution for all circumstances, albeit it has an enormous potential for mosquito-borne diseases control. It is a valid alternative to the massive spread of insecticides, being more sustainable from the environmental point of view. However, SIT is extremely species specific, and therefore it is indicated for the control of diseases mainly transmitted by a single dominant vector species. It had been used, in fact, in the control of dengue transmitted by Ae. aegypti and Chikungunya fever by Ae. albopictus. The efficacy of SIT is much more limited when a broader range of vector species should be targeted. In general SIT is more useful in the context of integrated multi-approaches control strategies. When the density of target vectors is reduced by other measures, SIT may be very effective in dramatically diminish the number of insects. However, the cost and benefits of SIT should be always assessed before planning any strategy for the control of mosquito populations, in the light of the specific situation and local constrains.
1. Oxitec Limited, Oxford, United Kingdom.
2. Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
3. Entomology Unit, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.
4. Centro Agricoltura Ambiente “G.Nicoli,” Crevalcore, Italy.
5. Mosquito and Fly Research Unit, USDA-ARS-CMAVE, Gainesville, Florida.
6. Entomological Services, Gainesville, Florida.
7. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
8. Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky