The use of drones for mosquito surveillance and control

Carrasco-Escobar, G., Moreno, M., Fornace, K. , Herrera-Varela, M., Manrique, E. and Conn, J. E. (2022) The use of drones for mosquito surveillance and control. Parasites and Vectors, 15, 473. (doi: 10.1186/s13071-022-05580-5) (PMID:36527116) (PMCID:PMC9758801)

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In recent years, global health security has been threatened by the geographical expansion of vector-borne infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya. For a range of these vector-borne diseases, an increase in residual (exophagic) transmission together with ecological heterogeneity in everything from weather to local human migration and housing to mosquito species’ behaviours presents many challenges to effective mosquito control. The novel use of drones (or uncrewed aerial vehicles) may play a major role in the success of mosquito surveillance and control programmes in the coming decades since the global landscape of mosquito-borne diseases and disease dynamics fluctuates frequently and there could be serious public health consequences if the issues of insecticide resistance and outdoor transmission are not adequately addressed. For controlling both aquatic and adult stages, for several years now remote sensing data have been used together with predictive modelling for risk, incidence and detection of transmission hot spots and landscape profiles in relation to mosquito-borne pathogens. The field of drone-based remote sensing is under continuous change due to new technology development, operation regulations and innovative applications. In this review we outline the opportunities and challenges for integrating drones into vector surveillance (i.e. identification of breeding sites or mapping micro-environmental composition) and control strategies (i.e. applying larval source management activities or deploying genetically modified agents) across the mosquito life-cycle. We present a five-step systematic environmental mapping strategy that we recommend be undertaken in locations where a drone is expected to be used, outline the key considerations for incorporating drone or other Earth Observation data into vector surveillance and provide two case studies of the advantages of using drones equipped with multispectral cameras. In conclusion, recent developments mean that drones can be effective for accurately conducting surveillance, assessing habitat suitability for larval and/or adult mosquitoes and implementing interventions. In addition, we briefly discuss the need to consider permissions, costs, safety/privacy perceptions and community acceptance for deploying drone activities.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding for this project “International collaborative network for the integra‑ tion, standardization and assessment of the use of drones in malaria vector control strategies” was provided by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Networking Grants (GCRFNGR4\1140). Photographs from Peru were taken under the auspices of Tropical Diseases Research (TDR) Contract 201460655. We would additionally like to acknowledge Nombre Apol‑ linaire and Amaziasizamoria Jumail for images collected in Burkina Faso and Malaysia, as well as the feld teams and projects who supported this research. Additional funding support was provided by the CGIAR Research Programme on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH; The opinions expressed here belong to the authors and do not necessarily refect those of A4NH or CGIAR. KMF is supported by a Sir Henry Dale fellowship jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (Grant No. 221963/Z/20/Z).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fornace, Dr Kimberly
Authors: Carrasco-Escobar, G., Moreno, M., Fornace, K., Herrera-Varela, M., Manrique, E., and Conn, J. E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Parasites and Vectors
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1756-3305

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
310866Socio-ecological dynamics of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases in changing landscapes: implications for surveillance and controlKimberly FornaceWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)221963/Z/20/ZInstitute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine