Trial of a community-based intervention to decrease infestation of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in cement washbasins in El Progreso, Honduras

E. A. Fernández, E. Leontsini, C. Sherman, A. S.T. Chan, C. E. Reyes, R. C. Lozano, B. A. Fuentes, M. Nichter, P. J. Winch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Washbasins and metal drums are important sources of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in much of Latin America. When manual cleaning was found to be ineffective in eliminating mosquito larvae in a community-based control programme in El Progreso, Honduras, it was decided to develop and evaluate an improved method of removing mosquito eggs based on commonly-available materials. The method, named La Untadita ('The Little Dab', in English), consists of five steps: mixing chlorine bleach and detergent to make a paste, applying the mixture to the walls of the container, waiting 10 min, scrubbing with a brush, and finally rinsing with water. A field trial of the Untadita was conducted in 13 peri-urban neighbourhoods. At the first post-intervention survey, in spite of high levels of exposure to the community-based intervention, high levels of knowledge regarding the Untadita and high levels of its reported use, little or no impact was discernable on mosquito larvae and pupae. The method was then modified by increasing the recommended quantities of bleach and detergent and simplifying the instructions. In the second post-intervention survey, knowledge of the steps and their order increased further; the intervention neighbourhoods had significantly fewer algae on washbasin walls, an indicator of more effective cleaning; and numbers of pupae and 3rd and 4th instar larvae were significantly lower than in untreated neighbourhoods. Effective promotion of the Untadita should be able to control mosquito infestation in many washbasins, especially those in frequent use, thus reducing the need for chemical and biological larvicides that may be either more costly or less acceptable to householders. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalActa Tropica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 30 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Dengue
  • Honduras
  • Hygiene behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology


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