COS 120-3 - Linking resident knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding mosquitoes to socioeconomic factors and vector control

Thursday, August 11, 2011: 2:10 PM
18D, Austin Convention Center
Zara R. Dowling, Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland, Westhampton, MA, Peter A. Armbruster, Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC and Paul T. Leisnham, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

In urban environments, many nuisance and vector mosquito species breed in water-holding containers on private property, where public health agencies do not have the personnel, funding, or legal authority to practice larval control.  Aerial spraying for mosquitoes carries environmental and health risks, and is ineffective against some species, including the West Nile vectors Aedes albopictus and Culex pipiens.  Elimination of standing water (‘source reduction’) by residents on private land is essential for cost-effective management of urban mosquitoes, but requires effective public education campaigns to inform and motivate residents.  Recent studies on the efficacy of such campaigns indicate high average knowledge of mosquito ecology and disease, and high reported source reduction among North American households, but lower knowledge and practice among certain demographic groups, and no effect of source reduction on  mosquito production within yards.  A better understanding of the relationships between socioeconomic status and resident knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) regarding mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease, is needed to better direct education campaigns.  We administered KAP questionnaires and entomological surveys to 242 households in six neighborhoods that varied in socioeconomic status, in the summer of 2010. Relationships between demographics, resident knowledge, attitudes, and practices, and mosquito production were tested using logistic regression, chi-square tests, and general linear model procedures in a stepwise approach.


Fifty-four percent of households surveyed were mosquito-positive.  The most common mosquito species encountered were Aedes albopictus (53.5% of identified larvae) and Culex pipiens (39.5%).  Knowledge of mosquito-borne disease and mosquito breeding sites was higher among upper-income households than middle-income households.  Lower-income households and neighborhoods showed greater overall motivation to control mosquitoes.  However, we found no relationship of overall knowledge and motivation with reported practice to eliminate standing water.  We likewise found no relationship between reported practice and the number of water-holding or mosquito-positive containers per yard, or total larval production.  These results suggest that existing knowledge and attitudes regarding mosquitoes are unimportant in determining whether residents practice source reduction, and that existing source reduction practice by residents is ineffective in limiting populations of mosquitoes.  More specific education on mosquito ecology is needed for effective household control.  Education campaigns in all neighborhoods should detail the frequency with which individuals must remove standing water, and identify specific containers which residents often do not realize could be breeding mosquitoes. 

Copyright © . All rights reserved.
Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.