Aircraft disinsection: what is the usefulness as a public health measure?

Sander-Grout, Andrea, and Russell, Richard C. (2021) Aircraft disinsection: what is the usefulness as a public health measure? Journal of Travel Medicine, 28 (2).

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Rationale for review: Insecticide treatments in aircraft (termed ‘aircraft disinsection’) aim to support the containment of potentially disease-carrying vector insects. The introduction of non-endemic mosquito species is of concern as some mosquitoes can act as vectors of many serious human diseases. Expansion of vectors to previously non-endemic regions, extended flight networks and mosquito resistance to insecticides pose challenges to contemporary vector-control approaches. Despite established efficacy of aircraft disinsection in trials, there is increasing concern over its effectiveness and feasibility in flight operations, and its usefulness as a public health measure.

Key findings: We explored the literature on disinsection through a narrative approach to obtain a pragmatic assessment of existing and future implementation challenges. We describe the shortcomings that hinder evaluation of the success of aircraft disinsection. These shortcomings include operational constraints that may impact effective treatment outcomes, lack of longitudinal data on pesticide exposure scenarios, lack of compliance mechanisms, pesticide resistance in mosquitoes, and limited evidence of the extent and type of mosquito species potentially transported via aircraft.

Conclusions and recommendations: Concerns about the introduction of non-endemic mosquito vectors reinforce the need for effective preventive measures. Import of disease vectors is likely to occur in the future under changing environmental and operational conditions. Optimal impact from disinsection requires appropriate deployment, commitment and use. The current system of evaluation is inadequate for producing the evidence needed for informed policy decisions. While utilizing the results of research into environmentally sustainable vector-control methods for use in aircraft, future approaches to aircraft disinsection require improved evidence of anticipated benefits and harms, reliable monitoring data on insecticide resistance, and must be supported by strong vector control at airports.

Item ID: 70524
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1708-8305
Keywords: Aircraft disinsection, insecticides, mosquito vectors, vector control, vector-borne disease
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Copyright Information: © International Society of Travel Medicine 2020. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2022 04:05
Downloads: Total: 3
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