Mosquito Survey and Capacity Building in Bhutan

The Bhutan Ministry of Public Health has made substantial progress towards reducing malaria transmission and likely will extirpate locally acquired malaria in the next few years. As they approach the goal of being malaria free, the mosquito expertise and vector-borne disease infrastructure plans to pivot to new emerging and exotic mosquito-borne pathogen threats such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya, as well as emerging sand fly diseases, particularly leishmaniasis.

Dr. Leonard Munstermann from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) team and Dr. Lee Cohnstaedt , YSPH alumnus and current research entomologist at USDA-ARS are leading a 10-day exploratory mission in the summer of 2017 to transfer knowledge and skills and assess the feasibility of citizen science and entomological monitoring capacity building for mosquito control. The exploratory mission will consist of three 3-day workshops, each in a unique mosquito environment (Thimphu, southern border and the northern mountain region). Targeted toward public health officials, medical entomologists, individuals working with malaria vectors, and educators with an interest in citizen science, the workshops are an opportunity to coordinate with the target community and provide a baseline to expand the project to neighboring communities.

This workshop is part of the ongoing partnership between the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan and the School of Public Health and funded by the Bhutan Foundation. This partnership is led by Dr. Kaveh Khoshnood.

Workshop Schedule

Day 1  

  1. Meet with central public health officials to give an introduction of the proposed insect monitoring network. Discuss the need and importance identification of insect disease vectors of endemic and exotic pathogens such as dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and Japanese B encephalitis, as well as sand fly transmitted leishmania. Discuss differences in habitat & control for the 3 genera associated with each disease group—anophelines (Anopheles), the aedines (Aedes), the culicines (Culex). (Morning: 2 hours)  
  2. Meet with workshop attendees to determine their interest in training and capacity building for insect identification. The GLOBE program does not have a country coordinator in Bhutan, but we can still teach the lessons and people can still upload the data. This will facilitate the training of citizen scientists for mosquito monitoring. (Morning: 2 hours)  
  3. Meet with local communities (public health and educators) to test insect monitoring methods including oviposition cups, larvae/pupae monitoring, and adult trapping. Collect mosquitoes and other biting insects.  Set up daytime and night time traps and oviposition containers.  (Afternoon: 4 hours)  

Day 2

  1. Collect traps and identify insect vectors using the new keys. Review mounting/storing, labeling, and storage of specimens. (Morning)
  2. Determine if additional needs for the location. Answer questions. As needed, relocate traps to a new trapping location in the community.
  3. Plan for local program expansion with public health technicians, community leaders, and teachers.

Day 3

  1. Collect traps, if placed a second day. This is a safety day just in case there were problems the first two days. Meet with people unable to attend one of the first two days.

Anopheles stephensi malaria mosquito pumping blood.

Phlebotomus papatasi

Phlebotomus papatasi; photo courtesy of L. Cohnstaedt