Objectives To test the non-inferiority hypothesis that a vector control approach targeting only the most productive water container types gives the same or greater reduction of the vector population as a non-targeted approach in different ecological settings and to analyse whether the targeted intervention is less costly.
Methods Cluster randomized trial in eight study sites (Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, Kenya, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines), with each study area divided into 18–20 clusters (sectors or neighbourhoods) of approximately 50–100 households each. Using a baseline pupal-demographic survey, the most productive container types were identified which produced ≥55% of all Ae. aegypti pupae. Clusters were then paired based on similar pupae per person indices. One cluster from each pair was randomly allocated to receive the targeted vector control intervention; the other received the ‘blanket’ (non-targeted) intervention attempting to reach all water holding containers.
Results The pupal-demographic baseline survey showed a large variation of productive container types across all study sites. In four sites the vector control interventions in both study arms were insecticidal and in the other four sites, non-insecticidal (environmental management and/or biological control methods). Both approaches were associated with a reduction of outcome indicators in the targeted and non-targeted intervention arm of the six study sites where the follow up study was conducted (PPI, Pupae per Person Index and BI, Breteau Index). Targeted interventions were as effective as non-targeted ones in terms of PPI. The direct costs per house reached were lower in targeted intervention clusters than in non-targeted intervention clusters with only one exception, where the targeted intervention was delivered through staff-intensive social mobilization.
Conclusions Targeting only the most productive water container types (roughly half of all water holding container types) was as effective in lowering entomological indices as targeting all water holding containers at lower implementation costs. Further research is required to establish the most efficacious method or combination of methods for targeted dengue vector interventions.