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Preventing the Zika Virus: Understanding and Controlling the Aedes Mosquito

Discover the science behind the Zika outbreak to understand how it is spread and can be controlled.

18,399 enrolled on this course

Close up of a mosquito on skin
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

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, behaviour, and distribution across the world, before reflecting upon the important role it plays in spreading Zika virus. Without a vaccine, prevention and control relies 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.

¡Ven y aprende con nosotros! | Venha aprender conosco!

Subtítulos en Inglés, Español y Portugués serán disponibles para cada video. Estos se pueden encontrar haciendo clic en el icono en la parte inferior derecha de la ventana del reproductor. Transcripciones PDF, diapositivas y traducciones de páginas también serán disponibles en la sección ‘Downloads/Descargas’. Discusiones y avisos del curso, enviados al comienzo de la semana, estarán en Ingles solamente.

Versões com legendas em espanhol e português estarão disponíveis em todos os vídeos. Para alterar, click no ícone que aparece no canto direito da tela. PDF, slides e outros materiais traduzidos estarão também disponíveis para download na seção etapa relevantes. Discussões, avisos e informações enviadas no início de cada semana serão escritas apenas em inglês.


ARCTEC is an integral part of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a world-leading independent test centre for consultancy and the evaluation and development of arthropod pest control technologies.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds JAMES LOGAN: In 2015, we saw large outbreaks of the Zika virus in Brazil. And it’s now been recorded in 84 countries and territories around the world. For most people, infection causes short-lived and relatively mild symptoms. However, in these recent outbreaks a medical condition in newborns called microcephaly has been associated with Zika, as well as additional neurological and autoimmune complications. I’m James Logan, professor of medical entomology. And I’m the lead educator for preventing the Zika virus, understanding and controlling the Aedes mosquito. I’m also the director of Arctec at the London School, where we develop and evaluate technologies aimed at controlling insects and other arthropods– particularly those of medical importance.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds For this course, we have gathered information and resources from experts in entomology, medicine, and public health. The course uses videos, articles, and discussions to introduce you to the Zika virus, and put the recent outbreak into context with other vector-borne diseases. Where has Zika come from? What role does the Aedes mosquito have in its transmission? And most importantly, how can we control it? This course has been updated since its first launch in 2016. And you will find updated facts and figures presented in the step outlines.

Skip to 1 minute and 29 seconds It’s suitable for you if you’re a health care professional, or working in a health care organisation, a student taking a health care or science-related degree, a public health adviser, anyone working in vector control programmes, or anyone with an interest in learning about the Zika virus and Aedes mosquitoes. It will last for three weeks, each week focusing on a different topic– from the virus itself, to the mosquito vector, and finally the control tools that are available.

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, behaviours, 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.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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, behaviours, 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.

What do people say about this course?

"A really good course. The material was so clear and well presented, and the course was extremely well thought out."

"This has been a very helpful course and has equipped me with knowledge on Zika virus and other mosquito related diseases (dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.) I now confidently talk and teach others about Zika."

Who will you learn with?

Professor James Logan is the Head of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Director of the Arthropod Control Product Test Centre (ARCTEC)

Who developed the course?

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world leader in research and postgraduate education in public and global health. Its mission is to improve health and health equity worldwide.


arctec at the LSHTM is a world-leading independent test centre for the evaluation and development of arthropod pest control technologies.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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