Mosquitoes transmit diseases from one human or animal to another, and prevention is key in protecting yourself from diseases they carry– chikungunya, dengue fever, West Nile virus, Zika and others.Through a federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has received funding to monitor for mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases throughout the state. Traps are placed in urban and rural areas to collect and identify mosquitoes active in the area. Staff place traps in both public and private areas, including locations where positive Zika cases or other mosquito-borne diseases have been recorded.
The traps are set primarily on public sites. However, if a business or homeowner site is used, permission will be requested prior to setting the traps. Traps are used for mosquito monitoring, not mosquito control. Equipment with the ADPH logo includes stickers identifying that the trap is used for mosquito surveillance. Photographs of the traps used are available at alabamapublichealth.gov/mosquito.
Two types of adult mosquito traps are placed in various locations overnight. Both operate on portable batteries and use carbon dioxide or special chemical lure in a tube to enhance collections. The CDC trap is made of a plastic cylinder with a fan and a light that hangs under a plastic pan from a tree limb or other structure. The sentinel trap is a collapsible vinyl barrel with a plastic lid and fan which sits on the ground. For mosquito egg surveillance, six-inch black plastic cups with a drain hole in the side and lined with a special paper are set for about a week.
Since the surveillance began in May, the state public health entomologist has identified several species of mosquitoes including Aedes albopictus, a vector of Zika, and Culex quequefasciatus, a vector of West Nile virus. The information is sent to the CDC in order to update national maps.
Since May, traps have been placed in a variety of locations–parks, businesses including those with tires, abandoned houses and residences. Traps have been set in municipalities and rural areas in Baldwin, Houston, Jefferson, Lee, Madison, Macon, Mobile, Montgomery, Morgan and Tuscaloosa counties.
A final summary with maps of species by county will be produced after mosquito season and posted to alabamapublichealth.gov. Mosquito information, including guidance on protection from mosquito bites, is available at alabamapublichealth.gov/mosquito. For questions about mosquito-borne diseases or surveillance, contact the Infectious Diseases and Outbreaks Division at 800-338-8374. For questions about mosquito control, contact the Bureau of Environmental Services or your county health department’s environmental division.