Factors favoring houseplant container infestation with Aedes aegypti larvae in Marilia, Sao Paulo, Brazil

M. L.G. Macoris, C. A.B. Mazine, M. T.M. Andrighetti, S. Yasumaro, M. E. Silva, M. J. Nelson, P. J. Winch

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10 Scopus citations


Since reinvasion of Sao Paulo State by the Aedes aegypti (L.) mosquito in 1985, flower pots and vases have been important larval habitats despite educational messages focusing on their control. The objectives of this study were to characterize flower pots and vases as larval habitats with respect to the quantities present and infested, the types of plants involved, and the specific locations of the mosquito larvae; to explore local names for houseplants; and to examine factors affecting acceptance of control measures. The results showed an average of more than four potential plant-related larval habitats per premises, of which only 0.4% were occupied by the vector. Plant-related containers represented 31% of all the containers with Aedes aegypti larvae. Although a sample of 126 respondents was able to list 105 different houseplant names, 49% of the positive plants were of two types: ferns and the ornamental plant Dieffenbachia avoena. The public's apparent unwillingness to accept recommended anti-aegypti control measures involving houseplants seems related to the relative rarity of aegypti larvae in the very common houseplant containers, the control program's poor credibility as a source of information about plants, and a perception that the recommended control measures are harmful to plants. An intervention currently being planned for dengue control will use educational material that refers specifically to those plants whose containers are most commonly found to harbor aegypti larvae; it will also utilize information sources such as botanists with greater credibility regarding plants; and it will set out alternative plant care recommendations that are more likely to appeal as beneficial to the plants and that will stand a better chance of being accepted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-286
Number of pages7
JournalRevista Panamericana de Salud Publica/Pan American Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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