A Door-to-Door Strategy for Aedes albopictus Control in Northern Italy: Efficacy, Cost-Analysis and Public Perception
Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate in several Northern Italy urban localities the cost-effectiveness and the public perception of an intensive Ae. albopictus control strategy by integrating accurate inspection and treatment of private areas with the standard disinfestations of catch basins in public areas.
Methods: The applied door-to-door strategy (DtoD) includes periodical inspections of private properties with larval treatment of permanent breeding sites and removal or inactivation of occasional breeding sites, together with direct information to the residents. The effectiveness of the service was assessed in the period 2013-2015 by means of ovitraps and in the period 2015-2017 by human landing collections (HLC). Public perception was evaluated by a survey questionnaire at the end of the season.
Results: In the period 2013-2017, 94.7% of the 41,827planned inspections were managed according to the program, while 5.3% were not made due to detected specific reasons. The reduction in the Ae. albopictus’ density, when compared to similar urban areas managed with the standard mosquito control plan (regular larval treatment of breeding sites in public areas and community engagement), resulted in the range 36-62% when using ovitraps and 69-72% when using HLC. Simple questionnaires distributed to citizens’ to evaluate their perception showed that 59.3-89.2% declared the DtoD service highly effective or effective, while 3.2-13.1% declared DtoD poorly effective or ineffective. The average cost of the DtoD package was in the range 5-9 Euro/inhabitant/year, depending on the local condition, while the average cost of the standard plan at the Emilia-Romagna regional level was calculated in 1.3 Euro/inhabitant/year.
Conclusion: The tested DtoD strategy resulted very effective in the reduction of the Ae. albopictus population in urban context and has been favorably received by the resident population. On the other hand, the strategy requires a remarkable organizational effort.