The Chikungunya virus outbreak that occurred in 2007 in northern Italy (Emilia-Romagna region) prompted the development of a large scale monitoring system of the population density of Aedes albopictus (Skuse, 1894), comparable at the provincial and municipal levels. In 2007, egg density data presented an aggregated distribution (VMR>1) and Taylor's power law was applied to calculate the minimum number of ovitraps needed to obtain the prefixed precision levels: D=0.2 in the areas where the Chikungunya epidemic occurred and D=0.3 in all the other urban areas >600 ha. The estimated minimum ovitrap number was then used to set up a monitoring network at the regional scale in season 2008 (May–October). In 242 municipalities 2,741 ovitraps were activated and the 2008 sampled data showed a similar aggregated distribution as in 2007. The adequacy of the monitoring design was evaluated by recalculating the Taylor's coefficients and the minimum ovitrap number for each urban area >600 ha using the 2008 egg density data. The comparison between the two estimates showed that the minimum ovitrap number calculated in 2007 was underestimated by 2.7% in weeks 22–41 but was overestimated by 29.4% if referring to the period of highest population density (weeks 27–37). The low cost of the proposed monitoring system, based on the use of fortnightly checked ovitraps, could make it economically sustainable even in a non-epidemic season.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1