For Immediate Release
May 13, 2022
Pacific Vector Training on Mosquitoes a Success in Guam
USAPI vector control staff prepared to prevent vector-borne disease outbreaks 
Dededo, Guam – Team Building Field Trip marked the official last day of the Pacific Vector Training on Mosquitoes for the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPIs) of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and the Republic of Palau.
The week-long training started on Monday, May 2, 2022, at the Pacific Island Regional Vector Laboratory (PIRVeL) located at the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services, Division of Environmental Health (DPHSS-DEH) in Guam.

Representatives from the University of California, Davis, Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (WRBU), and the Pacific Island Health Officers’ Association (PIHOA) conducted the training that was attended by 23 vector control supervisors and staff from the Guam DPHSS-DEH, CNMI Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation’s Bureau of Environmental Health, and the Republic of Palau Ministry of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health. 

Combined didactic training through lecture, field, and laboratory activities were conducted on topics such as mosquito surveillance, identification, and control that included hands-on workshops on public health entomology that showed attendees how to i) trap mosquitoes in the field using multiple trap types, ii) sort, identify and preserve specimens for reference collections and pathogen isolation, iii) conduct insecticide resistance testing, iv) apply insecticides safely and v) enter data into an online database for further analysis. All activities were designed to improve decision-making to prevent and respond to mosquito-borne disease outbreaks.  
Pacific Vector trainees and trainers trap mosquitoes in the field using multiple trap types
Vector control supervisors from Guam, the Republic of Palau, and the CNMI commented about the week-long training as follows:

“Guam is blessed and extremely grateful for the wonderful people at PIHOA, PacVec, and WRBU who were able to bring the week-long vector training to fruition. The knowledge gained from the trainers, and networks made between our island counterparts, will serve to bolster our vector surveillance and control program,” stated Jerome Garcia, Acting Environmental Public Health Officer Supervisor who oversees Guam’s Mosquito Surveillance and Control Program.

Aidil "Mur" Rahman, Entomologist from the Republic of Palau, Ministry of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health, said, "Palau is fortunate to have had this training because of the input that we received from the experienced instructors, especially the lectures and hands-on training that was really relevant for the island’s need of content. By meeting up with all the island representatives, we can discuss and share information to build a better network, especially vector management in the region."

“CNMI is thankful to all the trainers for their support and the opportunity to learn by bringing us together to learn from each other. We are very grateful and will be taking this knowledge back to our island to implement vector surveillance and control to protect our community," commented Aileen Benavente Pangelinan, Environmental Health Officer of CNMI Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation’s Bureau of Environmental Health.
PacVec trainees learning the skills to aspirate mosquitoes and conduct insecticide resistance testing
PacVec and WRBU trainers had this to say about the training:

“This was a great week of learning and exchange for all of us, and I am excited to see so much progress being made to increase the USAPI’s capacity to prevent vector-borne diseases. We have more work ahead, and our center is pleased to partner with PIHOA and the environmental health agencies of Guam, CNMI, and Palau to provide more opportunities for the next generation of public health professionals in the region,” stated Dr. Christopher Barker, PacVec Director and Professor of Epidemiology at UC Davis.

Dr. Anthony Cornel, a leader of PacVec’s training efforts and Agronomist at UC Davis, had this to say: “I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with attendees and look forward to continuing to work with them as we move forward to capitalize on what was learned this week and in the future to improve public health.”

"I was impressed with the levels of enthusiasm and professionalism each attendee brought to the training. I'm confident they will use the mosquito identification and preservation skills they have learned this week to increase their readiness to respond to future vector-borne disease outbreaks to keep people in their communities safe,” stated David Pecor, Museum Specialist of WRBU.

Funding provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Pacific Southwest Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases is supporting this project entitled, “Strengthening Vector Management in the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands.” The project aims to increase the knowledge and decision-making capacity of vector control staff in the USAPIs.
PacVec trainees and trainers closed out the week with a team building excursion to the Valley of the Latte, exploring Southern Guam, and Two Lover's Point
Media Contacts
Ms. Billie Hiraishi
Communications Officer
Dr. Limb Hapairai
Regional Medical Entomologist