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A Geospatial Study of the Potential of Two Exotic Species of Mosquitoes to Impact the Epidemiology of West Nitle Virus in Maryland

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Abstract:
Geospatial techniques were used to study the potential impact of two exotic mosquitoes, the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and Ochlerotatus japonicus japonicus (Theobald), on the epidemiology of West Nile virus in Maryland. These two species have established populations in Maryland over the past 15 years. The larval habitats of both mosquito species are natural and artificial water-holding containers; water in tires appears to be favored larval environment. Therefore, locations of licensed tire dealers and of tire dumps scheduled for clean-up were used as a surrogate for sources of mosquito vectors. Since discarded tires are a common trash item in developed areas, this surrogate was deemed to underestimate the actual population of source habitats. West Nile virus activity from 1999, 2000 and 2001 was indicated by the presence of dead, infected birds, particularly American crows and other corvids; infected pools of mosquitoes; and human and horse infections. Susceptible vertebrate hosts, particularly birds, are ubiquitously distributed throughout the developed areas of the State. This analysis demonstrated a spatial convergence of the virus, the exotic mosquito vectors and susceptible hosts. This conjunction indicated that these two mosquito species have a high potential to serve as vectors, and thus impact the epidemiology of West Nile virus under favorable environmental and climatic conditions. Positive mosquito pools were collected only from the Baltimore- Washington metropolitan corridor suggesting a newly created enzootic focus for this virus Land-cover analysis of the sites where virus activity had been detected showed predominantly developed land uses. Most of the sites were in urban areas suggesting that exposure to West Nile virus may be an environmental justice issue.

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Citation:Kutz, F. W., T. G. Wade, and B. B. Pagac. A Geospatial Study of the Potential of Two Exotic Species of Mosquitoes to Impact the Epidemiology of West Nitle Virus in Maryland. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MOSQUITO CONTROL ASSOCIATION 19(3):190-198, (2003).
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Landscape Ecology Branch
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 09/15/2003
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Development of Landscape Indicators for Use in Regional Ecological Risk Assessments
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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