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Tire Shops in Miami-Dade County Produce Vector Mosquitoes, Researchers Find

A study published in Plos One, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science, found that tire shops in Miami-Dade County are highly favorable breeding environments for the production of vector mosquitoes. The study was co-authored by researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's Department of Public Health Sciences and from the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control Division.

This study used a cross-sectional design to survey the production of vector mosquitoes in 12 tire shops, where mosquitoes were found in all but one of the shops. Researchers collected 1,110 mosquitoes at the sites – 528 were adults and 582 were immature. The Aedes aegypti and the Culex quinquefasciatus were collected in both forms and consisted of 99.99 percent of the mosquitoes that were collected. The Aedes aegypti, which can spread the yellow, dengue, chikungunya fevers, as well as the Zika virus, was the most abundant of the two, as researchers obtained 944 of the species. For the Culex quinquefasciatus, 161 mosquitoes were also accumulated. 

Aedes aegypti are very opportunistic mosquitoes and are extremely adapted to urban environments. Tires are especially conducive for the production of vector mosquitoes and immature mosquitoes are hidden from predators. The rubber from which tires are made of provides efficient thermal insulation from the element,” said Andre B. B. Wilke, lead author of the study and post-doctoral associate at the Department of Public Health Sciences.

Since workers spend much time outdoors while working at tire shops, they may be vulnerable to the bites of these vector mosquitoes, which increases their risk for vector-borne diseases. The study also notes that tire shops are oftentimes small family companies that may not always follow safety guidelines, further increasing the risk for the production of vector mosquitoes. This study also emphasizes the need to address how the abundance and presence of mosquitoes vary seasonally in these specific environments. 

The Miami-Dade Mosquito Control Division has been initiating the efforts to inform the population on the importance of eliminating any potential breeding sites, such as tire shops, that could drive that production of vector mosquitoes. 

“Our research at the University of Miami, in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control Division, focuses on public health practice to address important biological questions relating to mosquito ecology and behavior. Research outcomes also allow Miami-Dade to improve mosquito surveillance and control to better protect residents,” said John Beier, Sc.D., co-author of the study and professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences.

Written by Amanda Torres
Published on August 14, 2019