You are here

Novel Sampling Device for the Surveillance of Adult Flying Insect Vectors


OBJECTIVE: Develop a novel freestanding, lightweight, compact, portable sampling device to collect a broad spectrum of adult flying insect disease vectors. DESCRIPTION: Vector borne disease historically ranks among the leading causes of Disease and Injury (D&I) among U.S. service members deployed in support of military operations. Entomologists perform vector surveillance in order to mitigate the threat of vector borne disease among military populations. Vector surveillance provides information on density, abundance, distribution, and species composition of vectors as well as a way to evaluate results of control measures. In order to properly characterize the threat of vector borne diseases and develop effective control techniques, equipment used in vector surveillance operations needs to be highly effective, easily transported, and relatively maintenance free. Vector surveillance devices should ideally be able to target multiple groups of insect vectors and be self-contained, to eliminate the need for numerous devices and reliance on external power or fuel sources. The CDC light trap was developed in the mid-20th century and has been virtually unchanged since the 1960s. It is the primary piece of equipment used in vector surveillance for adult insect vectors, such as mosquitoes and sand flies, in military and civilian vector surveillance and control programs. Depending on availability, the CDC light trap is sometimes augmented with carbon dioxide from dry ice or another source. Unfortunately, even with carbon dioxide supplementation, this trap does not work well for many militarily important adult insect vectors, including the vectors of Dengue fever, malaria, and leishmaniasis. While the CDC light trap is recognized to have serious flaws in its ability to provide reliable, accurate vector surveillance for most adult flying insect vectors, it remains the standard trap used by military entomologists during deployments. As a component of the U.S. Army Medical Equipment Set (MES) Entomological Kit Field (UA 124A), it is fielded to all level II and III Army preventive medicine assets for operational use worldwide. Unfortunately, this trap has not kept up with the rapidly changing understanding of insect behavior and improving technology in recent years. Over the last two decades, newer adult flying insect traps have been developed in the commercial sector in an attempt to provide more effective means of surveying for important insect vectors. These newer devices rely on chemical cues, such as carbon dioxide or other chemicals that are present in human skin secretions, and/or different wavelengths of light. While some of these new traps, including the Mosquito Magnet, BG Sentinel, and Zumba traps, are more effective than the CDC light trap at collecting certain groups of host seeking mosquitoes, none of these traps are broadly effective against the variety of flying adult insect vectors (Bhalala and Arias 2009, Dusfour et al 2010). In addition, many of the new traps available are not as portable as the CDC light trap and still require reliance on external power or fuel sources, ranging from large batteries to propane tanks. The DoD Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) has identified the need for new or improved vector surveillance systems as the most important research priority for military entomology (AFPMB 2011). Military vector surveillance varies from other governmental and non-governmental vector surveillance efforts in that military entomologists need the tools to conduct accurate surveillance in any environment or geographic region to which they may be deployed. Furthermore, military entomologists need tools that are easily transported in order to ensure that they can get them to any location, no matter how remote, where vector surveillance will be required. A vector surveillance tool that is broadly effective, reliable, and portable will fill a major gap in our ability to accurately characterize the threat of vector borne disease in military operations. The purpose of this project is to develop a novel device to perform surveillance on adult insect disease vectors. This device should be attractive to a variety of vector groups, including mosquitoes (Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex species) and sand flies (Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia species). Efficacy against black flies, biting midges, and tsetse flies would be desirable, but is not the primary focus of this effort. The trap should be freestanding, lightweight, compact, portable, and should not require an external power source. The internal power source should be DoD Green Energy compliant. The device may be either one standard piece of equipment that is effective against the broad range of vectors outlined above or it may consist of a modular design that can be tailored to the specific group of interest. PHASE I: This phase of the SBIR should focus on developing the initial concept and design for the surveillance trap. PHASE II: During the Phase II portion of this SBIR, the awardee should develop the prototype trap design. Once the initial prototype is developed, it should be tested in both laboratory and field environments for efficacy in collecting a variety of insect disease vectors, such as mosquito and sand fly vectors. Field testing should include operation in a variety of environments, including desert and tropical environments. At the conclusion of Phase II, the awardee should have developed a prototype that is effective in sampling for mosquitoes (Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex species) and sand flies (Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia species), is freestanding, lightweight, compact, portable, and operates without an external power source. PHASE III: The proposed SBIR has commercial applications outside of the military. This sort of novel vector collection device could be used in public health disease surveillance programs (both governmental and non-governmental) and by public health researchers. At the completion of a successful Phase II, the company should seek funding from either a private company for commercialization of the product or through advanced development funding. The product resulting from this SBIR should be considered for NSN assignment so that it may be readily purchased by military and other US governmental organizations. In addition, the product should be considered for inclusion in the MES Entomological Kit Field as a replacement for the CDC light trap. The product should also be commercially available for other vector borne disease surveillance applications.
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government