The three-year mosquito control project of the Region of Central Macedonia (2023-2025)

The new mosquito control project of the Region of Central Macedonia for the three-year period 2023-2025 is in full progress. The aim of the project is, on the one hand, to protect public health from diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and, on the other hand, to upgrade the quality of living standards of residents and visitors of the Region by limiting the nuisance caused by them.

The three-year mosquito control project of the Region of Central Macedonia, implemented by Ecodevelopment, has a time horizon until the end of 2025 and a budget of 15,000,000 euros.

The mosquito control project in the 7 Regional Units of Central Macedonia:

  • upgrades multilevel capabilities to deal with nuisance problems and especially threats to public health.
  • makes maximum use of all available high-tech tools, taking into account in the operational planning recognized and internationally awarded methodologies for dealing with nuisance and epidemiological risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
  • is a well-organized action, scientifically supported by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the National Public Health Organization, while the responsibility for the design of the program lies with the General Directorate of Public Health of the Region of Central Macedonia, under the control and supervision of the Public Health Departments of the seven Regional Units as well as by the scientific monitoring committee established for this purpose.
  • additionally, the Municipalities of the Region contribute to the project, through their cooperation with the Public Health Directorate, but also through the implementation of smaller local urban control projects.

Ecodevelopment’s daily, weekly and monthly operational actions

This year, as part of the project and throughout the field work, more than 6,700 larval samples are carried out every week in over 20,000 potentially recorded mosquito breeding sites and about 160,000 acres of wetland systems, 420,000 acres of agricultural system, 7,000 km. canals and streams, common areas in the cities of Central Macedonia, as well as 80,000 rainwater wells and over 40,000 cesspools of private spaces in high-risk settlements related to West Nile Virus infection.

  • Field work is implemented by a total of 40 crews supported by a team of twenty highly qualified Ecodevelopment scientists.
  • Specialized equipment is used for the applications on the ground, including, among others, more than 20 spraying vehicles, two drones, as well as an amphibious vehicle.
  • In the coming days, the aerial work of mosquito control begins in the rice fields of Central Macedonia, with the use of helicopters in 280,000 acres.

Independent monitoring network for the Asian Tiger

In the context of entomological surveillance, the General Directorate of Public Health, in collaboration with the National Public Health Organization, share capture data from Ecodevelopment’s fixed mosquito monitoring network (82 capture sites), while this year for the potential detection of imported invasive mosquito species, special traps will be placed at the main entry gates, such as the main airport (“Macedonia”),  the port of Thessaloniki and selected berths (marinas). Specifically for the species Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger), an independent parallel monitoring network operates in the urban complex of Thessaloniki with 74 trap sites as well as in another 60 sites in the rest of the Region.

West Nile virus: Always vigilant

Until the end of May, despite the recording of significant populations of mosquito larvae in controlled breeding sites, mosquito nuisance remained low. The weather conditions of the next few weeks will determine the growth or not in the mosquito population.

The Region of Central Macedonia remains vigilant for any outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases (West Nile virus, malaria). In this context, two early warning actions are implemented with the possible detection of West Nile Virus in thriving mosquitoes and young chickens. In these two actions, Ecodevelopment, in cooperation with all stakeholders and services, has significant participation and contribution:

For the detection of West Nile virus in the collected mosquitoes, molecular analysis of samples is carried out for the detection of the virus by accredited laboratories, and in addition to the fixed network, traps for catching thriving mosquitoes will be placed in all settlements where outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases (mainly West Nile virus) will occur. Regarding the collection of biological material from young chickens, the procedures will begin in early June and two to three cycles of blood samples will be carried out to assess the circulation of West Nile virus in the year 2023.

Research project “RIS- Mosquito Vision”

The Region of Central Macedonia has been funding since 2021 the research project “Mosquito Vision”, implemented by Ecodevelopment SA (coordinator) and the Department of Meteorology and Climatology of the Department of Geology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Within the framework of the project, a large network of meteorological stations has been developed, including stations of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Region of Central Macedonia, the Aristotle University and other private companies.