Safety, regulatory and environmental issues with SIT-based mosquito vector control in European countries


R. Bellini

The globalisation of trade is opening the way to the spread of species in new regions where they may cause negative impacts. Mosquito invasive species such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are raising concern for their capacity to transmit several arboviruses of sanitary and veterinary importance. Currently available integrated vector management measures do not achieve satisfactory results when deployed against these urban mosquitoes. Moreover, insecticides are losing their effectiveness due to the resistance developed by the target species. Policies regulating the use of insecticides are progressively restricting their market availability and this trend is expected to continue. Genetic control methods, such as the sterile insect technique, based on the use of irradiation to sterilise male mosquitoes, are showing good efficacy in pilot trials at local scales in some Aedes albopictus colonised urban areas in Europe, without any negative effects. The main limitation is the cost, which may be significantly reduced through the introduction of automation in the mass rearing and drone technology in the field release. These technological advancements require substantial investments at a scale that can only be achieved with centralised production and extensive distribution, which in turn may be granted only if the authorisation frameworks, including the regulation of international transportation and aerial release in an urban setting, are clarified and matured.

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