The Zika virus is suspected to be the cause of cases of microcephaly in newborns in South America, and this outbreak has now been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization. With global attention towards this disease increasing rapidly, it is becoming clear that there is limited knowledge around how the carriers, or vectors, of Zika, are best avoided and controlled.
Focus on the Zika virus
This free online course will begin by considering the science behind the outbreak to try to understand where the Zika virus has come from, its symptoms, and its effect on infected individuals. Our attention will then turn towards the vector primarily responsible for transmission of Zika: the Aedes mosquito.
Explore the biology of Aedes mosquitoes
We will introduce the Aedes mosquito and examine its lifecycle, behavior, and distribution across the world, before reflecting upon the important role it plays in spreading Zika virus. Without a vaccine, prevention and control rely on reducing numbers of mosquitoes and the contact they have with people, so an understanding of the biology of Aedes is vital.
Discover vector control methods
A range of methods employed to control the Aedes mosquito will be highlighted, including the use, importance, and suitability of repellents, impregnated clothing, larval control, insecticide spraying, and insecticide-treated nets. The vectors of Zika virus also transmit dengue, yellow fever, and the chikungunya virus, meaning there is potential to apply these techniques in other settings.
Learn together and from those on the front line in South America
Learners will come from all over the world with their own diverse experiences and interests. You will have the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas through course discussion and hear first-hand accounts from experts and individuals working in the field in South America. Contributors include:
- Dr. Mary Cameron, Reader in Medical Entomology
- Dr. Jo Lines, Reader of Malaria Control and Vector Biology
- Professor Laura Rodrigues, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and working with the Microcephaly Epidemic Research Group in Brazil
- Professor Jimmy Whitworth, Professor of International Public Health.
What topics will you cover?
- The origins and history of the Zika virus and 2015/16 outbreak, including an introduction to vector transmission
- Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Zika virus disease
- Zika in the context of other vector-borne diseases globally and the world’s ability to prepare for epidemics
- The Aedes mosquito and its lifecycle, behaviors, characteristics, and global distribution
- The importance of counting and surveying mosquito populations
- Vector control methods targeted towards immature and adult mosquitoes, in addition to the challenges faced and novel interventions
- Current strategies for the control of Aedes and prevention of Zika
- Areas in which future research and support efforts should be targeted.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you'll be able to...
- Describe the origins, symptoms, and broader effects of the Zika virus in the context of the current outbreak
- Reflect upon the biology of the Aedes mosquito, considering its lifecycle, behaviors, and characteristics, and what these mean for vector control efforts
- Evaluate key methods used to control the Aedes mosquito at both a community and household level
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for anyone with an interest in learning about Zika virus vector control. It is relevant to workers newly drafted into vector control work, NGO employees in affected countries, students taking a healthcare or science-related degree, medical students and postgraduates wishing to complement their studies, and academic staff in aligned disciplines.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated February 17, 2018