Mosquito Research and Control Unit appoints new director

James McNelly is the new Mosquito Research and Control Unit director.
James McNelly is the new Mosquito Research and Control Unit director.

The Mosquito Research and Control Unit announced on Tuesday that it has appointed James McNelly as its new director.

Mr. McNelly will join MRCU next week from the Mosquito Control Division of Volusia County, Florida, where he has been director for more than six years.

He replaces former director Bill Petrie, who left last year to become head of the Miami-Dade Mosquito Control Division. Nancy Barnard, who has been acting director in the interim, will return to her duties as deputy chief officer in the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, according to the announcement.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. McNelly, who has a wealth of experience in mosquito control,” said Jennifer Ahearn, the chief officer in the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing. “Dr. McNelly was the successful candidate following a rigorous recruitment process. We are very fortunate that we have been able to attract someone with such depth of knowledge, who has been running a similar-sized mosquito control program with many challenges that we also face in the Cayman Islands.”

Mr. McNelly has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree in ecology from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University.

Before working in Florida, he was the director for environmental sciences with the Illinois-based mosquito control services and products firm Clarke from 2008 to 2011, and regional manager for the company’s environmental mosquito management program for the preceding eight years.

Before that he was the mosquito and black fly surveillance project coordinator for Rutgers University, and an entomologist with the Cape May County Mosquito Commission in New Jersey. He is also a past president of the New Jersey Mosquito Control Association.

According to the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, the mosquito control unit Mr. McNelly directed in Florida is similar in size to the one here and faces many of the same challenges relating to the control of nuisance mosquitoes.

During the past few years, Mr. McNelly’s team has contended with multiple imported cases of mosquito-borne Zika and chikungunya, as well as cases of West Nile virus and malaria, according to the announcement.

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