Communities Organized for the Prevention of Arbovirus

COPA is a project designed to organize more than 90 communities in 14 zones in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to prevent infections transmitted by mosquitos. COPA means Communities Organized for the Prevention of Arboviruses. In Puerto Rico, the Aedes aegypti is the mosquito responsible for the transmission of the Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika virus. Ponce has presented a high incidence and prevalence of these diseases in the past. An effective mosquito control requires careful and continues a job that starts in the home and requires the support of everyone in the community.

Our objective is to perform continuous community surveillance of the diseases transmitted by mosquitoes in a group of 3,500 participants, perform mosquito surveillance and evaluate the opinion and impact of mosquito control interventions.

We visit randomly selected houses to perform interviews, to learn the way each house member prevents mosquito bites. Our trained personnel also draw blood samples to identify if the person was infected by Dengue, Chikungunya or Zika in the past. These results will be sent back to the participants by mail to the participant’s address. We are looking for household members that sleep in the house more than 4 nights per week, do not have plans to move out of their homes and are younger than 50 years to participate in the project.
  • Image of Copa Team
  • Image of Copa Team at Tables at Event
  • Copa Team Marching

Recruitment Team


The interviewers visit the selected homes gor the COPA study, provide information about the project, recrruit the residents to participate, and perform the interviews to the participants.


The phlebotomists are licensed professionals to draw blood samples. Our phlebotomists are nurses o medical technicians that visit the selected houses in the communities on the COPA study and draw blood samples to perform analysis of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. The phlebotomist may also help during the interviews conducted to the participants and provide information about the COPA project.



Our volunteers assist on the activities on the selected houses on the communities of the COPA study and provide information about the project. They recruit residents to participate and perform the interviews to the participants.


Our Collaborators

Unidad de Control de Vectores de Puerto Rico


Field Technicians

Field Technicians Install and keep the surveillance traps AGO that are used to monitor the abundance of the mosquito population in the communities. The information gathered from these traps is registered using an application of ArcGIS, that integrates it with the data collected in the field. Additionally, they are trained to identify and manage mosquito breeding sites.

  • Raitza Alvarado
  • Maran Cruz
  • Edgar Delgado
  • Nexilianne Borrero


Laboratory Technicians

They are trained to identify the mosquitos based on their physical characteristics. The technicians identify and count the number of mosquitoes present in the surveillance traps AGO. This information is registered using an application called the ArcGIS, that integrates the data collected from the field. 

  • Natalia Colón
  • Christian Sánchez


Community Research Representative

Support the development of programs of community reach and initiatives of behavioral change.

  • Lorence Morell


Community Promoters

Our promoters work directly with the communities in the initiatives of surveillance and vector control, including community reach and recruitment for the activities of the Unit.

  • Brunilda Sabat
  • Noemí Martínez
  • Orlando Rodríguez
  • Lohary Munet


Community Mobilization Specialist

The community mobilization team of the Unit works to educate and empower everyone to take direct and significant action in the control of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. They are responsible for identifying and cultivating strong relationships with community leaders, faith-based organizations, local government, local businesses, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations.

  • Rafael Saavedra, MPH
  • Gabriela Algarín, MPH


Supervisor of the Community Mobilization Program:

Julieanne Miranda-Bermúdez, DrPHc, MS

Julieanne Miranda Bermúdez has a master’s in public health with a concentration in environmental health from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. Currently is a candidate to a Ph.D. degree in public health with concentration in environmental health from the same institution. Her interest is work to mobilize and empower the communities about health problems, specifically, related to the mosquito Aedes aegypti mosquito


Community Educators:

The Educational Program of the Puerto Rico Vector Control Unit goal is to empower students, parents, and teachers to employ a direct role against the Aedes aegypti mosquito. They work on public and private schools from K-12 to educate about biology, behavior, and control of the Aedes Aegypti.


Supervisor of the Educational Program:

The Dr. Natasha DeLeón-Rodríguez, Supervisor of the Educational Program, has a Ph.D. degree on environmental microbiology from Georgia Institute of Technology. She currently works as Supervisor of the Educational Program. Her interest is to promote formal education in science technology, engineering, and math in the student populations in Puerto Rico.


Director of the Community Mobilization Division:

Fernando Pineda has a bachelor’s degree in clinical biochemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He has more than 15 years of experience working with communities and is the founder of the CREA Results in Denver, Colorado. His interest is with the health promoters and the search health equity among the communities.


Technical director of the PRVCU:

Dr. Angela Harris worked on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and is the Technical Director of the Puerto Rico Vector Control Unit. Dr. Harris has a master’s and a Ph.D. from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, respectively. She has worked for over ten years in the Aedes aegypti mosquito control in the Caribbean.


Associate Director of the PRVCU:

Dr. Marianyoly Ortíz, Associate Director of the PRVCU, has a Ph.D. degree on Environmental Sciences and microbiology from the University of Arizona.

Contact Us

Address: Proyecto COPA. 395 Dr. Luis F. Salas Street. Research Building Ponce PR, 00716

Phone: (787) 221-9561


Proyecto COPA

Microsite COPA

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