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La lutte antivectorielle en France

Didier Fontenille
Christophe Lagneau
Sylvie Lecollinet
et al.

Implementation of vector control

Organization and human resources for vector control1

Texte intégral

  • 1 In this chapter, references to the CD-ROM concern question 4: “What are the vector control strateg (...)

1The organization of vector control, whether geared to animal health or human health, is by no means uniform over France and its territories as a whole. Moreover, the human resources to accomplish the task are seriously insufficient and above all deficient in the necessary training, especially in the decentralized structures of the system.


2Book II of the French Rural Code dealing with veterinary public health and animal health protection defines a list of legally recognized contagious diseases (MLRC). Some of them are vector-borne: cowdriosis, equine encephalitis, bluetongue disease in sheep, African horse sickness, epizootic haemorrhagic disease of deer, Rift Valley fever, African swine fever, theileriosis and trypanosomiasis (article L. 214-1). These must be declared and animal health regulations are applied and emergency systems are sometimes made ready. These systems are planned at national level by the Minister of Agriculture and, in each département of France, by the prefect who decides on the measures to be put into execution.

3Beyond this, in some cases defined in article L. 224 (whether or not for contagious diseases), the administrative authority can make it compulsory to apply prophylactic or assessment measures, or put into practice preventive or health-risk control actions. Other than these officially regulated diseases, animal health is the responsibility of the owners.

General organization

4The general organization of vector control is not built on a specifically established supporting structure. Veterinary services, organized into DDSV (Departmental Veterinary Services), are in charge of animal health and protection. This means in particular the execution of measures taken to protect animals against MLRCs. It is also their job to coordinate and implement compulsory collective prophylaxy operations and health checks in compliance with regulations. These services are founded on a network of veterinary practitioners whose role is to carry out surveillance and disease prevention operations. Yet there is neither a structure nor the personnel with the specific task of performing entomological surveillance of vector control.

5The prophylactic operations can be conducted with the GDSs, Health Defence Groups, set up in the 1950s on the initiative of the veterinary services. At the time they were a response to government’s need to have available a network within the livestock farming community for better control of the major animal diseases: tuberculosis and brucellosis (transmissible to humans), or foot and mouth disease. This collective form of organization proved to be effective and so was promoted by State and the GDSs were brought in to participate in control measures against the MLRCs. They therefore developed their own disease control plans or certification procedures. Now they hold a technical advice role for livestock farmers on health protection issues.

6The GDSs are département-based structures grouped into regional and national federations. They have the status of not-for-profit organizations and are financed by subscriptions paid by farmers and local authorities (mainly département councils). They have established commercial subsidiaries to offer livestock farmers various services (disinfection of buildings, control of nuisance organisms and so on). The subsidiaries of 40 départements of France are themselves grouped into a network, Farago, and have equipment and material and personnel trained in pest control, including anti-insect measures (mainly against flies).

A specific organization

7A specific form of organization is applied in French overseas territories and in Corsica. In the overseas territories, the State, working through the DDSVs, is the commanding authority for vector control campaigns (against ticks in the Antilles), the Health Defence Groups (GDSs) are in charge of the operations put in place (Antilles, Reunion Island) and CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement) provides scientific and technical assistance. The situation of French Guiana is a particular one, with no Health Defence Group and no independent veterinary practitioners for domestic animals.

8In metropolitan France, vector control measures against Culicoides are organized only in Corsica, where insecticides are made available by the DDSVs. European regulations (regulation 1266/2007) in fact render Culicoides surveillance in metropolitan France compulsory. This involves determination of the beginning and the end of the season of activity of Culicoides. During the period of inactivity, the restriction measures on trade in animals are relaxed. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is the overseeing authority, concludes an annualized agreement with CIRAD to organize and coordinate entomological surveillance operations. Trap laying is done mainly by veterinary service technicians whereas identification is undertaken by the Université Pasteur of Strasbourg and the EID Méditerranée.

9Vector control nevertheless still comes down to individual actions, in that the decision to practise measures in the end falls to the owner of the animals, even if the law imposes it. The degree to which livestock farmers join in the control campaigns depends on the systems of husbandry and the vigour of the GDSs (in awareness raising, making means for control available and so on).


10The regulatory framework derives from the law of 13 August 2004 (see the chapter “Legislative and regulatory framework for vector control”). A multitude of missions and reports that bear upon vector control for human health reflects the diversity of situations that exist, even though to date, this control only targets mosquitoes and concerns just seven French départements: the four overseas departments, the two in Corsica and Var in metropolitan France. It must be recognized that in reality, article 72 of law n° 2004-809 of 13 August 2004 is only rarely applied to the letter (see the Box regarding the regulations and legislature in the chapter “Legislative and regulatory framework for vector control”). Moreover, for Guadeloupe and Martinique the transfer of competences theoretically stipulated by the law has in fact been suspended.

The structures

11Details of the structures are given in the chapter “Legislative and regulatory framework for vector control”. The following account will therefore insist on the human resources such structures have within each département concerned.


12The vector control service has recently endowed itself with a laboratory with the primary task of developing studies on mosquito taxonomy and insecticide resistance.

13Currently, the total number of agents charged with conducting the control activities is 65. Just one of these agents is at category B level (assigned to logistics) and most of them are in category C. The average age is higher than 50 years. Most of the personnel work on the main island of Guadeloupe, but they can be assigned for varying durations to other islands of the administrative area when necessary. There are staff based permanently on some of these associated islands: 6 in Saint-Martin, 3 at Marie-Galante, just 1 at Saint-Barthelemy. The only person at manager level A (the entomologist) devotes only 70% of his time to vector control and has also to deal with other health and environmental issues (such as water or noise problems).

French Guiana

14Vector control activities here are primarily oriented against dengue and malaria vectors.

15Quite recently, the SDD (Departmental Mosquito Eradication Service), which runs these services, was placed under the authority of a manager assisted by an entomologist. The service headquarters is at Cayenne where nearly 60 % of its staff live. It is divided into 4 geographical sectors, with 10 branches together covering the whole département. It comprises 3 agents at category A level (including 2 administrative staff and 1 medical doctor-entomologist), 7 in category B (including 2 administrative staff and 7 medical technicians), 148 category C agents (including 12 from administration and 136 in the technical services).

16In addition to these agents there is one full-time technician (health and environment) and a medical entomologist at the Pasteur Institute (under a contract with the State).


17Here, operations of the vector control service (with the status of jointly-run unit since 1991) are led by a medical entomologist of departmental level. He is in charge of scientific and technical orientation but also coordination of staffing and service management. An technical engineer assists the entomologist in management and logistics tasks, but also with technical work. The service has for several years been engaged in research programmes aiming at operational applications. A partnership has been developed with Unit ‘Vector population characterization and control’ (IRD, Montepellier), the Nicole Pasteur team at the CNRS, Montpellier, and the University of Québec at Trois-Rivières. The service was recently strengthened with the département council’s appointment of a second entomologist.

18The vector control service consists of 48 staff (32 attached to the State civil service, 16 employed by the département council): 3 are in category A (the 2 entomologists and 1 engineer), 8 in category B and 37 classified in category C.

Reunion Island

19The human and material resources are grouped together in a Public Interest Group (GIP) founded in 2006, the SPR (Reinforced Prophylaxis Service). Its major task is to control malaria and the expansion of arbovirus epidemics. Its principal objectives are to ensure the day-to-day coordination of the actions of the various partners participating in anti-mosquito vector operations and, for cases of epidemic outbreaks, have a well-prepared set organization to activate actions of mosquito destruction and health education.

20Personnel numbers have risen from 45 before the emergency situation provoked by the chikungunya epidemic to nearly 200 agents after the crisis (4 managers at category A level, 14 category B agents, 180 personnel at category C). The SPR inherited a substantial stock of materials and insecticides dating from the time of the epidemic (Guadeloupe and Martinique have also benefited from these stocks). That is probably an indication of an overestimate of needs, from which lessons can be drawn for the future.


21To date malaria is still a public health problem on this island. The vector control service, located at Mamoudzou since 2002, is overseen and oriented by the State, in conformity with law n° 87/39 of 27 January 1987. Its role was confirmed by organic law n° 2007-223 of 21 February 2007, article 3 of which lays down the statutory and institutional provisions regarding the overseas territories (DSIOM law). This article is codified in the General Local Authorities Code in article LO 61114-1.

22The daily work of field operator teams entails conducting comprehensive house-to-house spraying campaigns, within homes, apartments, houses and buildings. The service also includes an entomology laboratory while an operational logistics department specifically geared to vector control is responsible for equipment maintenance and providing the field teams with supplies. The total number of personnel allocated to this control work is 74: 4 agents in category A (1 entomologist, 1 logistics manager working under contract, 2 health engineers), 2 category B personnel and 68 category C staff.

Corsica: Corse-du-Sud

23The majority of vector control actions concern control of Anopheles, whereas Aedes albopictus is steadily colonizing.

24In line with the application of the law of 13 August 2004, the State transferred 15 category C personnel to the département council. Added to these are 8 permanent agents recruited by the département council (1 head of department, 1 entomologist, 1 IT manager, 5 operators) and 7 seasonal workers. The total number of personnel therefore amounts to 23 permanent staff. In addition a territorial medical practitioner is in charge of dealing with epidemiological problems.

Corsica: Haute-Corse

25The service responsible for vector control has been a structure belonging to the département council since the first decentralization. It operates in the overall framework of mosquito destruction. The number of personnel involved amounts to 32 (including 2 field operators, 2 engineers), most of them in category C.

26For both Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse, the State has kept the responsibility for defining control and entomological surveillance strategies, in conformity with the circular of May 2008. These actions are conducted by the Vector Surveillance and Epidemiological Monitoring Unit;

Other actors

27Actors other than just the vector control services have been starting to become involved over recent years. The control services had been working in isolation for years, unaware of the contribution made by the various partners (municipal services, district associations, Ministry of Education establishments and so on) or of other disciplines (such as social sciences, anthropology, epidemiology).

28Efforts have been concentrated on a larger-scale mobilization of communities by means of a range of actions: Reunion Island ‘kass-moustique’ operation, Operation ‘Toussaint’ in the DFAs, Anti-Mosquito Day and municipal mosquito-destruction relay in Martinique. The municipalities’ participation is still quite modest, but they are an absolutely indispensable link in the chain of actions in the field.

Metropolitan France

29Currently, metropolitan France has no vector control structures akin to those in operation in the overseas territories. The three EIDs (Méditerranée, Atlantique, Rhône-Alpes) and other organizations like the ‘Syndicat intercommunal à vocation unique (SIVU) contre les moustiques’ of Lauterbourg (Alsace), a single-purpose intermunicipal anti-mosquito structure, have been set up with the aim of controlling the nuisance caused, thus improving both living conditions for people living there and conditions for tourists. This activity, which is run and financed entirely by the local authorities, is a way to support economic development.

EID Méditerranée

30The core objective of this EID (see the historical account on CD-ROM) is to control nuisance caused by the main anthropophile species of mosquitoes to maintain an acceptable level that is above all compatible with the major socio-economic issues of the region. The scope of action essentially concentrates on the two species of halophile Aedes species in rural areas (Aedes Ochlerotatus caspius, Aedes detritus), on the anthropophile component of the species Culex pipiens (Culex pipiens molestus) and, more recently, Aedes albopictus in urban areas.

31EID Méditerranée staff numbers were at 157 permanent posts on 1 January 2008. Of these, 16 are in the administrative line (1 in category A, 3 in category B, 12 in category C), 135 come from the technical line (7 from category A, 40 in category B, 88 in category C) and 6 personnel are under con-tract and do not belong to any professional line. The headquarters is located at Montpellier (Hérault). The technical personnel (prospectors and machine operators) are, however, spread over the whole of the area of action, based in operational agencies: 5 agencies in Languedoc-Roussillon region, 1 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, 1 at Arles and one at Cagnes-sur-Mer.

32The headquarters is the centre for the general management and administrative departments, and the communication, environment, research and development departments. The research and development section is supported by a laboratory (labelled ISO9000 version 2000) whose research themes hinge on biocide experimentation, optimisation of treatment methods, environmental impacts, biology of target species, measurement of their sensitivity level to biocidal products, and surveillance of potential vectors. The establishment is also endowed with a documentation centre, a cartographic service, a garage and a fleet of 140 vehicles. The agencies keep on their sites the materials and equipment necessary for terrestrial treatment over their sector. The Montpellier Fréjorgues is certified for the storage of 100 tonnes of biocidal products (the bulk of them based on Bti).

EID Atlantique

33It became urgent, in order to develop tourism, to seek solutions for controlling the nuisance caused by mosquitoes, especially in summer. The EID Atlantique (see historical account on CD-ROM) covers the area with nearly 200 municipalities. It has 55 agents of the territorial civil service spread along the Atlantic coast, from the Morbihan to the Gironde.

34The EID services are distributed over nearly 50,000 hectares of wetlands. They operate throughout the year to manage the marshland, regulate the hydrological system and treat the breeding sites to control mosquito populations. In parallel to these actions in the field, this interdepartmental venture conducts surveillance operations of he important species. It is a member of the Steeringand Management Committee of nature reserves (such as Aiguillon Bay, Illeau des Niges). Other activities are simuliid control, participation in entomological surveys, proposals of technical study packs in rural and environmental management, training of local authority technicians, exchanges with academics, and contributions to scientific research on target species.

EID Rhône-Alpes

35This interdepartmental venture was set up to fight the mosquito nuisance in the areas bordering the Rhône and and the Lac du Bourget (see historical account on CD-ROM). It has developed a strong capability in wetland management recognized by local authorities. It has thus been designated as managing body of the nature reserve of Lavours marsh while it also looks after the conservation of the Iles du Haut-Rhône voluntary nature reserve and the management of the Saugey Meander. The mosquito destruction activities take place mainly in spring (March to the end of July): 203 municipalities benefit from these. The EID Rhône-Alpes also participates in research, especially with the alpine ecology laboratory of University Joseph-Fourier in Grenoble.

36As far as human resources are concerned, this body comprises 47 permanent agents of the territorial civil service, backed up in summer by 42 seasonal staff. The operational departments have 28 permanent personnel divided between four permanent branches. Urban mosquito eradication is conducted by 40 seasonal staff mobilized in June and July, supervised by a permanent part-time officer. Wetland management is entrusted to 2.5 permanent agents and 2 temporary ones in July and August. Three officers are responsible for research, conservation and management of natural environments and also communication. The central management, administrative departments, departments of cartography and communication, the laboratory and mechanical workshop are made up of 13 persons located at Chindrieux (Savoie).

SIVU of Lauterbourg

37The driving objective of this departmental syndicate consists of limiting the nuisance created by river mosquitoes while conserving the protected natural reserves in the Rhine valley. The treatments are exclusively antilarval and based on Bti. They are applied either manually on the ground, or by helicopter equipped with a granular spreader. To date, 15 municipalities are members of Lauterbourg SIVU which is 50 % financed by the municipalities.

38Just one permanent officer, a qualified civil servant (category A), man-ages a seasonal activity conducted by 25 temporary staff. The syndicate manager maintains a close operational arrangement with the German mosquito destruction services (KABS) which operates on the other side of the Rhine and also fulfils the role of secretary of the European mosquito Control Association (EMCA).


39The Agence Nationale pour la Démoustication et la gestion des espaces naturels démoustiqués (ADEGE) was set up in 1996. It groups together three EIDs, the Martinique département council, French Guiana département council, the département council of Corse-du-Sud and the SIVU of Lauterbourg. This agency, whose headquarters is in Montpellier, (at the Mediterranean centre of the coastal environment/EID Méditerranée), has undergone two major changes since its last general meeting in November 2008: the change of status to one of association under law of 1901 and the setting-up of a scientific committee.

40Its overriding tasks are as follows:

  • the identification and recognition by ministries, central administrations and bodies of the European Union, of public establishments for mosquito control (nuisance and vector categories) and management of natural areas freed of mosquitoes (represented in the association);
  • public expression of common concerted positions;
  • scientific and technical exchanges on the active products used and the methods implemented for mosquito control;
  • pooling of logistical and research resources;
  • gaining knowledge and following up the progress of applied and development research systems;
  • continuous improvement in the environmental quality of mosquito control operations, especially by minimizing unwanted side-effects;
  • exchange and contribution of knowledge and joint effort in wetland management (ecological monitoring techniques and environmental education);
  • pooling and exchange of resources in documentation, training, information and so on;
  • harmonization of consulting procedures and transfer of know-how in response to calls from French local authorities and public establishments located outside the areas of action of association members or from government bodies and foreign public establishments and authorities;

41Besides these activities, the EIDs have acquired over the years strong scientific and technical capabilities, in spite of their principal role (control of nuisance organisms). These capacities can be extrapolated to the control of vectors. EIDs have indeed been assigned missions of entomological surveillance aimed at identification of Culicidae that are potential arbovirus vectors, as well as assessment of their presence, their abundance and geographical distribution (see examples on CD-ROM).

For vector control concerning human health:
– strengthen the active participation of local authorities (notably the municipalities and intermunicipal authorities);
– reinforce investigations and operations according to epidemiological data;
– systemize the assessment of activities;
– assess regularly the follow-up/response tools such as PSAGE.
Recommendations on vector control organization for animal health:
– institutionalise the organization of vector control over the whole of the territory by way of the Ministry of Agriculture through its central management department (DGAL) and its decentralized services (DDSVs);
– formalize a network of actors (operational, scientific and technical support organizations, crisis management units) to be prepared to respond efficiently to an emergency situation;
– train operational personnel in the decentralized structures which will be available to take charge of surveillance and vector control actions if necessary (one person at departmental level or a team at regional level).
Common recommendation:
– wherever possible, mutualize the means of operational organizations (human and material resources) for vector control concerning both human and veterinary issues.


1 In this chapter, references to the CD-ROM concern question 4: “What are the vector control strategies in France?”.

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