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Background:Collection of the black fly vectors of onchocerciasis worldwide relies upon human landing collections. Recent studies have suggested that the Esperanza Window Trap baited with a human scent lure and CO2 had the potential to replace human hosts for the collection ofSimulium ochraceum sensu lato in Southern Chiapas focus, Mexico. The feasibility of utilizing these traps in a community-based approach for the collection of S. ochraceum s.l. was evaluated.
Methodology/Principal findings:Local residents of a formerly endemic extra-sentinel community for onchocerciasis were trained to carry out collections using the traps. The residents operated the traps over a 60-day period and conducted parallel landing collections, resulting in a total of 28,397 vector black flies collected. None of the flies collected were found to contain parasite DNA when tested by a polymerase chain reaction assay targeting a parasite specific sequence, resulting in a point estimate of infection in the vectors of zero, with an upper bound of the 95% confidence interval 0.13 per 2,000. This meets the accepted criterion for demonstrating an interruption of parasite transmission.
Conclusions/Significance:These data demonstrate that Esperanza Window Traps may be effectively operated by minimally trained residents of formerly endemic communities, resulting in the collection of sufficient numbers of flies to verify transmission interruption of onchocerciasis. The traps represent a viable alternative to using humans as hosts for the collection of vector flies as part of the verification of onchocerciasis elimination.
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