Effects of microbes on Aedes aegypti infestation in domestic water containers

Adult female Aedes aegypti photo by James Gathany, CDC

As part of a larger project aimed at understanding the links between dengue and diarrheal diseases, and how control measures for both can be integrated, I developed and led work on the relationships between dengue vector infestation and fecal contamination in household water storage containers. We focused on rural and suburban villages in northeastern Thailand and the south of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos). Specific questions that I was interested in answering included whether:

  • there was any relationship between contamination levels of fecal bacteria and numbers of Aedes pupae (as a proxy for dengue transmission risk) in household water containers, and how this relationship varied by type of container
  • there were any differences in microbiota composition between immature Aedes aegypti and water from their breeding containers

I utilized a combination of classical and molecular biology/microbiology tools to quantify and characterize mosquito infestation and bacterial communities (using E. coli as a proxy for fecal contamination) in household water storage containers.

Results showed a positive correlation between fecal contamination levels and infestation levels of immature Aedes aegypti, suggesting that household water storage containers in these settings could represent a common denominator of dengue and diarrheal disease risk, and thus a potential target for integrated dengue and diarrheal disease control. Furthermore, Aedes aegypti larvae harbored bacteria acquired from their breeding habitat. However, their bacterial diversity was lower than those of their breeding water, suggesting the presence of a mechanism that controls microbial colonization within mosquitoes.

For more information please see associated publications below.

Funding and collaboration

Nsa Dada, PhD
Nsa Dada, PhD
Founder and Lead
Mosquito Microbiome Consortium

Entomologist and microbial ecologist fascinated with microbial interactions that underpin insect evolutionary responses to changes in their habitats.