MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jose R. Loaiza
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute,
Panama City, Panama, Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología, Universidad de Panamá, Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Response: The mosquito Aedes albopictus is a worldwide vector of both Dengue and
This species invaded Panama in 2002, and it expanded
across much of the country since that time. Our main goal was to
determine the factors (e.g., ecological and non-ecological) associated
with its expansion, and to comment on the implications for vector and
disease control programs elsewhere in the American tropics.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that road networks alone best predicted the distribution of Ae.
albopictus in Panama over other variables such as population density and
climate. Our data explain the invasion mode of this mosquito species on a
local level and demonstrate a remarkable population expansion velocity
across the country. Ae. albopictus is likely moving across the landscape
as immature stages (i.e., larvae and pupae) in open water, such as used
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Dengue transmission in Panama is a two-vector species problem, and so, a
strategy that only focuses on one of the two species will fail to bring
the number clinical cases down. Local eradication plans for Aedes
mosquitoes in Panama are likely going to require constant inputs to get
population levels down, even at local scales.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Surveillance and perhaps fumigation of vehicles at checkpoints across
Panama can reduce the invasion of Ae. albopictus into new areas. Future
studies will have to confirm the same migration mechanism in A. aegypti.
Jose R. Loaiza Affiliations: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City, Panama, Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología, Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá, Programa Centroamericano de Maestría en Entomología, Vicerrectoría de Investigación y Postgrado, Universidad de Panamá, Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá