Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.P.H.

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Robert Novak

Keywords

arbovirus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, ecology, Saint Louis Encephalitis, West Nile Virus

Abstract

Within the state of Florida, there are three arboviruses of public health importance that can cause neuroinvasive disease in humans: West Nile Virus, Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus. Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) within the genus Culex are known and suspected vectors of these diseases. The vectors of these diseases can be present in urban wetland habitats that allow for exposure to residential communities. Vector ecology must be investigated in order to understand the dynamics of disease transmission. In Hillsborough County, Florida the spatial and temporal distribution of these vectors are not well established. An ecological study was conducted in the University of South Florida's Ecopreserve using trapping methodologies to sample the adult and gravid females as well as collect the egg population. Collections were made at three spatial points for the duration of July through December 2013 and compared to meteorological variables. Culex erraticus, a proposed bridge vector of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, was the most abundant adult species and gravid female captured. Culex nigripalpus, primary Floridian vector of Saint Louis Encephalitis and bridge vector of West Nile Virus, was the second most abundant adult species caught as well as the majority of eggs collected. Based on the results collected, the presence of Culex erraticus and Culex nigripalpus was confirmed. The majority of Culex erraticus adults were collected in September and October and Culex nigripalpus adults were the highest in July and August. The results of the gravid and egg collection generated crucial insight regarding methodology for studying vector ecology within this urban wetland habitat. However, modeling at spatial points based on meteorological variables yielded inconsistent results that illicit further investigation regarding these arboviral vectors of disease.

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Public Health Commons

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