Metofluthrin: investigations into the use of a volatile spatial pyrethroid in a global spread of dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses

Buhagiar, Tamara S., Devine, Gregor J., and Ritchie, Scott A. (2017) Metofluthrin: investigations into the use of a volatile spatial pyrethroid in a global spread of dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses. Parasites & Vectors, 10 (270). pp. 1-11.

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Background: Metofluthrin reduces biting activity in Aedes aegypti through the confusion, knockdown, and subsequent kill of a mosquito. A geographical spread in dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses, increases intervention demands. Response to a Zika outbreak may require a different strategy than dengue, as high-risk individuals, specifically pregnant women, need to be targeted.

Methods: In semi-field conditions within a residential property in Cairns, Queensland, the impacts of metofluthrin on biting behaviour of free-flying Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti were evaluated.

Results: Mortality in Ae. aegypti exposed to metofluthrin over a 22 h period was 100% compared to 2.7% in an untreated room. No biting activity was observed in mosquitoes up to 5 m from the emanator after 10 min of metofluthrin exposure. Use of metofluthrin reduced biting activity up to 8 m, regardless of the host's proximity (near or far) to a dark harbourage area (HA) (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.006), respectively. In the presence or absence of the metofluthrin emanator, the host was most likely bitten when located immediately next to a HA (within 1 m) versus 8 m away from the HA (P = 0.006). The addition of a ceiling fan (0.8 m/s airflow) prevented all biting activity after 10 min of metofluthrin exposure. Previously unexposed Ae. aegypti were less likely to reach the host in a metofluthrin-treated room (X−= 31%) compared to an untreated room (X−=100%) (P < 0.0001). In a treated room, if the mosquito had not reached the host within 30 s, they never would. Upon activation, the time required for metofluthrin to infiltrate protected locations within a room causing knockdown in caged mosquitoes, required more time than exposed locations (P < 0.003); however exposed and protected locations do eventually reach equilibrium, affecting mosquitoes equally throughout the room.

Conclusion: Metofluthrin is effective in interrupting indoor host-seeking in Ae. aegypti. Metofluthrin's efficacy is increased by centrally locating the emanator in the room, and by using a fan to increase airflow. Newly treated rooms may require a period of 2–4 h for sufficient distribution of the metofluthrin into protected locations where mosquitoes may be resting.

Item ID: 49054
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Aedes aegypti, spatial repellents, metofluthrin, pyrethroids, mosquito control, dengue fever, zika virus, chikungunya
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© The Author(s). 2017. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

ISSN: 1756-3305
Funders: Deployed Warfighter (DW), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: DW Deployment Grant #W911QY-15-1-0006, NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship 1044698
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 23:58
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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