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K-State Today

February 11, 2021

Lyric Bartholomay to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Lyric Bartholomay, professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease, will present "Controlling Mosquito Borne-Diseases at the Source: Critically Evaluating the Old, and Innovating New, Mosquito Control Interventions" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, via Zoom.

In the upper Midwest, mosquito-borne viruses including West Nile, LaCrosse , Jamestown Canyon and Eastern equine encephalitis continue to cause devastating disease in people and livestock. Adding to that threat, there is a precariously limited toolkit for controlling the associated vector species. The greater Chicagoland area has a long-standing network of mosquito abatement districts that enact vector control for Culex pipiens in the interest of interrupting West Nile virus transmission. Abatement efforts often involve controlling larval stage mosquitoes at point sources in the stormwater catchment system, and controlling flying adult stage mosquitoes using truck-mounted ultra-low volume sprays. Despite this significant investment, the area continues to be a hotspot for West Nile virus disease. Through the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease, we are critically evaluating the impacts of larval and adult mosquito control on mosquito population abundance and West Nile virus infection status, creating tools to model timing and frequency of control interventions to maximize population control, and assessing the state of insecticide resistance in Culex pipiens. The data underscore the challenges to using mosquito control for disease prevention. Likewise, there are significant challenges to controlling the mosquitoes that transmit Jamestown Canyon virus, LaCrosse virus and Eastern equine encephalitis virus. Altogether, these persistent threats and suboptimal interventions call for tailored and innovative new approaches to mosquito control. We will discuss the landscape context for those challenges, and emerging technologies  — e.g., toxic sugar baits and molecular mosquitocides — to intervene.

If you would like to visit with Bartholomay, please contact Kristin Michel at kmichel@k-state.edu