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PLoS One. 2020 Mar 24;15(3):e0230748. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230748. eCollection 2020.

Cemeteries in Miami-Dade County, Florida are important areas to be targeted in mosquito management and control efforts.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States of America.
2
Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control Division, Miami, FL, United States of America.
3
Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, United States of America.

Abstract

Definable habitats at the neighborhood level provide a wide range of favorable habitats with optimal conditions and environmental resources for mosquito survival. Problematic habitats for controlling mosquitoes in urban environments such as tire shops, bromeliad patches, and construction sites must be taken into consideration in the development of effective mosquito management and control in urban areas. Cemeteries are often located in highly urbanized areas serving as a haven for populations of vector mosquito species due to the availability of natural resources present in most cemeteries. Even though Miami-Dade County, Florida was the most affected area in the United States during the Zika virus outbreak in 2016 and is currently under a mosquito-borne illness alert after 14 confirmed locally transmitted dengue cases, the role of cemeteries in the proliferation of vector mosquitoes is unknown. Therefore, our objective was to use a cross-sectional experimental design to survey twelve cemeteries across Miami-Dade County to assess if vector mosquitoes in Miami can be found in these areas. Our results are indicating that vector mosquitoes are able to successfully exploit the resources available in the cemeteries. Culex quinquefasciatus was the most abundant species but it was neither as frequent nor present in its immature form as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. This study revealed that vector mosquitoes, such as Ae. aegypti, Ae. albopictus, and Cx. quinquefasciatus are successfully exploiting the resources available in these areas being able to thrive and reach high numbers. Mosquito control strategies should consider both long-term strategies, based on changing human behavior to reduce the availability of aquatic habitats for vector mosquitoes; as well as short-term strategies such as drilling holes or adding larvicide to the flower vases. Simple practices would greatly help improve the effectiveness of mosquito management and control in these problematic urban habitats.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist

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