Why is Aedes aegypti Linnaeus so Successful as a Species?
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- Carvalho, F.D. & Moreira, L.A. Neotrop Entomol (2017) 46: 243. doi:10.1007/s13744-017-0520-4
Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes impose enormous burden towards human morbidity and mortality. Over the last three decades, Brazil has suffered from severe Dengue epidemics. In September 2014, this situation is further complicated by the introduction of two other viruses, Zika and Chikungunya, placing Brazil in a triple epidemic. In this article, we discuss the biology of Aedes aegypti Linnaeus, and the principal initiatives currently used to control mosquito populations and the diseases they transmit. Aedes aegypti has broad global distribution and is involved in the transmission of various arboviral diseases such as Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya. Several factors contribute to the success of the species, particularly behavioral plasticity, rapid development, desiccation-resistant eggs, resistance to the principle insecticide classes currently available on the market, preference for the urban environment, and proximity to humans. Vector control programs are the best way to reduce the burden of mosquito-borne diseases. Chemical control is most commonly used in recent times, and unfortunately, the results have not been satisfactory but instead, there is increased vector dispersal and, subsequently, the spread of disease epidemics. Investigations of alternative control methods such as release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes for blocking vector-borne pathogens, release of transgenic mosquitoes carrying a lethal gene for offspring, and the use of insecticide-dispersing mosquitoes are under way in Brazil, and some have shown promising results. Special emphasis should be placed on integrated management of all available tactics, so as to maximize efforts towards mosquito control. Finally, we emphasize that continuous actions and community participation control initiatives are critically important for success.