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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMiami: Study Finds That Construction Sites in Miami-Dade County are Favorable Environments for Vector Mosquitoes

According to a study published in PlosOne, construction sites create new places for mosquito populations to thrive. The study was co-authored by University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences researchers, in collaboration with scientists from the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control Division.

In 2017 and 2018, researchers collected samples from 11 different construction sites, including areas that were affected by the Zika virus in 2016, and found that living mosquitos were actively reproducing in sheltered places that contained water. Out of the seven species of mosquitos found in the sites, 95 percent were disease-spreading, including the Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus.

The Aedes aegypti is known as the primary vector for the dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fevers and Zika viruses and the Culex quinquefasciatus as the vector for lymphatic filariasis, West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis viruses.

In an interview with InventUM, Dr. John Beier, professor of public health at the Miller School and co-author of the study, said, “Our research shows that construction workers are particularly vulnerable to arbovirus transmission, as are residents of nearby neighborhoods. Controlling mosquito populations is the most effective strategy for preventing vector-borne disease outbreaks. Future studies should examine the need for improved safety guidelines for construction sites.”

Miller School of Medicine’s Dr. André B.B. Wilke, a postdoctoral associate, and Dr. Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, assistant professor of public health, co-authored the study with Dr. Beier, as well as with Chalmers Vazquez and William Petrie from the control division.