A Grand Challenge Agenda for Entomology

Entomological summit on managing the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito calls for education, funding, and collaboration

culex larvae

17 March, 2016 (Maceió, Brazil) — The Entomological Society of America (ESA) and Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil (SEB) held a Summit in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil on 13 March, 2016 to discuss the research and implementation knowledge gaps in current approaches to handling the Aedes aegypti crisis in the Americas. The one-day meeting brought together more than 60 researchers, public health officials, entomologists, vector control experts, and representatives from NGOs and other agencies for a day of plenary talks, breakout sessions, panels discussions, and other presentations on the topic of establishing a sustainable and effective level of control for Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, which is known to carry dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more recently the Zika virus.

The primary objective of the Summit was to convene many of the key knowledge leaders involved with the research and control of this insect and identify immediate steps to create long-term and sustainable solutions.

While the Summit featured talks on many aspects of mosquito biology, behavior, and control, two specific outcomes highlight what experts see as the most critical actions to tackling the challenges presented by this parasite.

  • Finding ways to connect science to communities more effectively through public awareness campaigns on how people can protect themselves from mosquitoes, as well as education efforts to dispel misinformation regarding insect control measures.
  • Seeking a unified voice supporting vector control as a critical element of the campaign against Aedes aegypti, in addition to the important work being done by the medical community on disease management. Prioritizing vector control would include funding for integrating well-established and novel control technologies as well as improving the collection and dissemination of data on mosquito populations and the efficacy of control measures.

Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellowfever mosquito, is a peridomestic container-breeding pest. This mosquito is mostly problematic in municipalities, often in urban centers with established mosquito management programs, yet they still continue to transmit disease. The problem is that few cities support best practices in mosquito management and often haphazardly and/or incompletely control mosquitoes. The protocol and best practices of mosquito control are well known – they’re just not being utilized.

“This is a pest that we know how to control – we just need to do it,” says Dr. Luciano Moreira, a principal researcher at Fiocruz in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and a co-chair of the Summit. “Spreading the word about how all people have a role to play will be critical to success.”

Dr. Grayson Brown, co-chair of the Summit and professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky agrees and added, “This mosquito had been the target of an international eradication effort in the Americas that had largely been successful. However, as the mosquito population declined to very low levels, eradication efforts were abandoned and the mosquito resurged. As it did, human disease reappeared and the pathogens vectored by this mosquito exploded soon thereafter.”

The Summit is part of the ESA’s Grand Challenges initiative which seeks areas where the entomological sciences can impact problems of global importance. A second Summit is planned during the International Congress of Entomology, hosted by ESA, at Orlando, FL (USA) on September 21, 2016.

The Entomological Society of America, co-host of the Summit, is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

As Zika and Other Viruses Spread, International Entomologists Will Meet and Collaborate on Controlling Disease-Transmitting Mosquitoes

culex larvae

Annapolis, MD; January 27, 2016 — On March 13, 2016, in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil (SEB) will host a gathering of the world’s entomological societies to discuss collaborative control options to combat one of the world’s most deadly animal species – Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that transmits Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. The purpose of the summit will be to marshal the international community of entomologists to better control mosquito-borne diseases in the Americas and around the world.

Titled “Summit on the Aedes aegypti Crisis in the Americas: Joining Together to Address a Grand Challenge,” the Summit is expected to convene the world’s foremost entomology researchers and several dozen other high-impact attendees to seek ways to combat this mosquito.

“The recent impact of the Zika virus has added urgency to an already critical meeting,” said C. David Gammel, ESA’s Executive Director. “Entomological societies are in a unique position to address issues related to controlling insects that spread these diseases by convening the global entomological community along with related stakeholders.”

The gathering is the first of two Summits that ESA will host in 2016 as part of the society’s Grand Challenges Agenda, which looks for areas where entomology can have a meaningful and positive impact on issues of human importance. At this first Summit, leaders of the international entomological communities will meet with leaders from government agencies, industry representatives, public-health experts, and funders to discuss the crisis caused by this mosquito, as well as ways that the societies can respond. Establishing a sustainable program of effective mosquito suppression is a central objective of this first summit. A second summit will be hosted in Orlando, Florida during the International Congress of Entomology (ICE) in September 2016.

“Preparations to host this important summit on Aedes aegypti began two years ago as a way to address dengue and chikungunya, which has become a global epidemic with a reported 2.35 million cases in the Americas alone,” said Dr. Grayson C. Brown, a University of Kentucky researcher, past President of ESA, and co-chair of the event. “Now that Zika has become an important health crisis, our mission has become even more critical. It is vital that the world’s scientific leaders work together on this issue.”

Zika and chikungunya have been rapidly gaining momentum as major public-health threats after their recent introductions in the Americas. Aedes aegypti carries these and other dangerous and potentially fatal diseases, including dengue and yellow fever. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently identified Zika as a probable cause of microcephaly in newborn infants, leading the U.S. government to issue travel warnings to affected regions.

“There is a good reason that the mosquito is labeled the most dangerous animal in the world,” said Dr. Luciano Moreira, a researcher at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz in Brazil and co-chair of the Summit. “An integrative control strategy, joining different disciplines should be envisaged to control this deadly mosquito.”

The Summit will be held in conjunction with the joint Brazilian and Latin American Congresses of Entomology in the city of Maceió in Brazil. National and international entomological and related scientific societies are invited to send representatives to attend this Summit. The session will include scientific presentations on the latest developments in key challenge areas as well as plenary speakers, poster presentations, panels, breakout sessions, and discussions about next steps needed for action.

The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

Entomólogos internacionais se reúnem e colaboram para buscar maneiras de controlar os mosquitos transmissores de doenças

Annapolis, MD, 27 de enero de 2016 – El 13 de marzo de 2016, en Maceió, Alagoas, Brasil, la Entomological Society of America (ESA) y la Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil (SEB) serán las anfitrionas de una reunión de las sociedades entomológicas del mundo para hablar sobre las opciones colaborativas de control para combatir una de las especies animales más letales del mundo — el Aedes aegypti un mosquito que transmite el virus Zika, el dengue, el chikungunya y la fiebre amarilla. El propósito de la cumbre será organizar a la comunidad internacional de entomológos para controlar mejor las enfermedades causadas por los mosquitos en las Américas y en todo el mundo.

Con el título “Cumbre sobre  las crisis del Aedes aegypti en las Américas: Unirse para enfrentar un gran desafío”, se espera que la cumbre reúna a los investigadores dedicados a la entomología más prominentes del mundo y a varias docenas de otros asistentes de alto impacto para buscar maneras de combatir este mosquito.

“El impacto reciente del virus Zika ha sumado urgencia a una reunión que ya era crucial”, dijo C. David Gammel, Director Ejecutivo de ESA. “Las sociedades entomológicas se encuentran en una posición única para enfrentar los temas relacionados con el control de los insectos que contagian estas enfermedades al convocar a la comunidad entomológica global junto con otras partes interesadas relacionadas”.

La reunión es la primera de dos cumbres que organizará ESA en 2016 como parte de la Grand Challenges Agenda, que busca áreas en las que la entomología puede tener un impacto importante y positivo en temas de importancia para la humanidad. En esta primera cumbre, los líderes de las comunidades entomológicas internacionales se reunirán con líderes de las agencias gubernamentales, representantes de la industria, expertos en salud pública y financiadores para hablar sobre la crisis causada por este mosquito, así como también acerca de las maneras en que las sociedades pueden responder. Establecer un programa sustentable de eliminación efectiva del mosquito es un objetivo central de esta primera cumbre. Se llevará a cabo una segunda cumbre en Orlando, Florida, durante el Congreso Internacional de Entomología (ICE) en septiembre de 2016.

“Los preparativos para organizar esta importante cubre sobre el Aedes aegypti comenzaron hace dos años como manera de enfrentar el dengue y el chikungunya, que se han convertido en una epidemia global con 2.35 millones de casos reportados en las Américas solamente”, dijo el Dr. Grayson C. Brown, un investigador de la Universidad de Kentucky, ex presidente de ESA y codirector del evento. “Ahora que el Zika se ha convertido en una importante crisis sanitaria, nuestra misión se ha vuelto mucho más crucial. Es vital que los líderes científicos del mundo trabajen juntos en este tema”.

El Zika y el chikungunya han estado adquiriendo impulso rápidamente como amenazas graves a la salud pública después de sus recientes apariciones en las Américas. El Aedes aegypti es portador de estas y otras enfermedades potencialmente letales, que incluyen el dengue y la fiebre amarilla. Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades de los EE.UU. han identificado recientemente al Zika como una causa probable de microcefalia en bebés recién nacidos, lo que llevó al gobierno de los EE.UU. a emitir advertencias para viajeros que se dirijan a las regiones afectadas.

“Hay una buena razón para definir al mosquito como el animal más peligroso del mundo”, dijo en Dr Luciano Moreira, un investigador de la Fundação Oswaldo Cruz de Brasil y codirector de la cumbre. “Se debe concebir una estrategia de control integradora, uniendo a distintas disciplinas para controlar a este letal mosquito”.

La cumbre se llevará a cabo en conjunción con los Congresos Brasileño y Latinoamericano de Entomología en la ciudad de Maceió en Brasil. Las sociedades entomológicas y científicas relacionadas, nacionales e internacionales, están invitadas a enviar representantes para que asistan a esta cumbre. La sesión incluirá presentaciones científicas además de oradores plenarios, presentaciones de pósteres, paneles, sesiones de trabajo subsidiarias, y discusiones acerca de los próximos pasos necesarios para la acción.

La Entomological Society of America es la organización más grande del mundo que atiende a las necesidades profesionales y científicas de los entomólogos y personas que se desempeñan en disciplinas relacionadas. Fundada en 1889, ESA tiene hoy más de 7000 miembros afiliados con instituciones educativas, agencias de salud, la industria privada y el gobierno. Los miembros son investigadores, profesores, personal de servicios de extensión, administradores, representantes de marketing, técnicos de investigación, consultores, estudiantes y hobistas. Para más información, visite http://www.entsoc.org.