With the recent severe outbreaks of the Zika virus, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is working to improve national capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to vector-borne diseases. Through USAID’s additional funding to the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Africa Indoor Residual Spraying (AIRS) Project, Abt Associates is helping to support USAID Missions and Bureaus in Latin America and the Caribbean to plan, implement, and monitor and evaluate vector control activities to prevent Zika transmission.

The Zika AIRS Project (ZAP) is working in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras. ZAP will also work in Ecuador, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru.

The Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. ZAP will conduct robust entomological monitoring to measure the vector’s density levels, feeding and resting habits, and longevity. ZAP will test for insecticide resistance, determine the most effective vector control activities for each country, and monitor the impact of those activities.

ZAP’s environmental management activities will include cleaning up areas around homes to eliminate places where mosquitoes can breed. The Aedes aegypti lives in limited geographic areas near to where it feeds and can breed in large or small amounts of water, including something as miniscule as a bottle cap or a piece of plastic.

ZAP will reduce the number of mosquitoes through larviciding, which targets mosquito larvae in breeding sites before they can mature into adult mosquitoes.

Since 2011, Abt Associates has led the PMI AIRS Project, which conducts indoor residual spraying and entomological monitoring in 17 countries in Africa. The project has protected more than 45 million lives from malaria by spraying insecticide on the walls, ceilings, and other indoor resting places of mosquitoes that transmit malaria.