BACKGROUND: Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus are important vectors of infectious diseases, especially those caused by arboviruses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Aedes aegypti is very well adapted to urban environments, whereas Ae. albopictus inhabits more rural settings. Pyrethroid resistance is widespread in these vectors, but limited data exist from the Southwest Pacific Region, especially from Melanesia. While Aedes vector ecology is well documented in Australia, where incursion of Ae. albopictus and pyrethroid resistance have so far been prevented, almost nothing is known about Aedes populations in neighbouring Papua New Guinea (PNG). With pyrethroid resistance documented in parts of Indonesia but not in Australia, it is important to determine the distribution of susceptible and resistant Aedes populations in this region. METHODS: The present study was aimed at assessing Aedes populations for insecticide resistance in Madang and Port Moresby, located on the north and south coasts of PNG, respectively. Mosquitoes were collected using ovitraps and reared in an insectary. Standard WHO bioassays using insecticide-treated filter papers were conducted on a total of 253 Ae. aegypti and 768 Ae. albopictus adult mosquitoes. Subsets of samples from both species (55 Ae. aegypti and 48 Ae. albopictus) were screened for knockdown resistance mutations in the voltage-sensitive sodium channel (Vssc) gene, the target site of pyrethroid insecticides. RESULTS: High levels of resistance against pyrethroids were identified in Ae. aegypti from Madang and Port Moresby. Aedes albopictus exhibited susceptibility to pyrethroids, but moderate levels of resistance to DDT. Mutations associated with pyrethroid resistance were detected in all Ae. aegypti samples screened. Some genotypes found in the present study had been observed previously in Indonesia. No Vssc mutations associated with pyrethroid resistance were found in the Ae. albopictus samples. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first report of pyrethroid resistance in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes in PNG. Interestingly, usage of insecticides in PNG is low, apart from long-lasting insecticidal nets distributed for malaria control. Further investigations on how these resistant Ae. aegypti mosquito populations arose in PNG and how they are being sustained are warranted.
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