On March 13, 2016, in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil (SEB) will host a gathering of the world’s entomological societies to discuss collaborative control options to combat one of the world’s most deadly animal species — Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that transmits Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. The purpose of the summit will be to marshal the international community of entomologists to better control mosquito-borne diseases in the Americas and around the world.
Titled “Summit of the Americas on the Aedes aegypti Crisis: Joining Together to Address a Grand Challenge,” the Summit is expected to convene the world’s foremost entomology researchers and several dozen other high-impact attendees to seek ways to combat this mosquito.
The Summit will be held in conjunction with the joint Brazilian and Latin American Congresses of Entomology in the city of Maceió in Brazil. National and international entomological and related scientific societies are invited to send representatives to attend this Summit. The session will include scientific presentations on the latest developments in key challenge areas as well as plenary speakers, poster presentations, panels, breakout sessions, and discussions about next steps needed for action.
“The recent impact of the Zika virus has added urgency to an already critical meeting,” said C. David Gammel, ESA’s Executive Director. “Entomological societies are in a unique position to address issues related to controlling insects that spread these diseases by convening the global entomological community along with related stakeholders.”
The gathering is the first of two Summits that ESA will host in 2016 as part of the society’s Grand Challenges Agenda, which looks for areas where entomology can have a meaningful and positive impact on issues of human importance. At this first Summit, leaders of the international entomological communities will meet with leaders from government agencies, industry representatives, public-health experts, and funders to discuss the crisis caused by this mosquito, as well as ways that the societies can respond. Establishing a sustainable program of effective mosquito suppression is a central objective of this first summit. A second summit will be hosted in Orlando, Florida during the International Congress of Entomology (ICE) in September 2016.
“Preparations to host this important summit on Aedes aegypti began two years ago as a way to address dengue and chikungunya, which has become a global epidemic with a reported 2.35 million cases in the Americas alone,” said Dr. Grayson C. Brown, a University of Kentucky researcher, past President of ESA, and co-chair of the event. “Now that Zika has become an important health crisis, our mission has become even more critical. It is vital that the world’s scientific leaders work together on this issue.”
Zika and chikungunya have been rapidly gaining momentum as major public-health threats after their recent introductions in the Americas. Aedes aegypti carries these and other dangerous and potentially fatal diseases, including dengue and yellow fever. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently identified Zika as a probable cause of microcephaly in newborn infants, leading the U.S. government to issue travel warnings to affected regions.
“There is a good reason that the mosquito is labeled the most dangerous animal in the world,” said Dr. Luciano Moreira, a researcher at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz in Brazil and co-chair of the Summit. “An integrative control strategy, joining different disciplines should be envisaged to control this deadly mosquito.”