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Dengue fever in the San Juan Bay Estuary: Evaluating the Role of Wetland Ecosystem Services
DeJesus-Crespo, R., S. Yee, AND P. Mendez-Lazaro. Dengue fever in the San Juan Bay Estuary: Evaluating the Role of Wetland Ecosystem Services. Society of Wetland Scientists Annual Meeting, San Juan, PUERTO RICO, June 05 - 08, 2017.
Mosquito borne diseases are an increasingly important health concern, which pose great challenges for safe and sustainable control and eradication. This reality calls for management approaches that consider multiple aspects of the transmission cycle, from vector ecology to socio-economic elements that may increase exposure. This study seeks to better understand these pathways using Dengue fever in the San Juan Bay Estuary (SJBE, Puerto Rico) as a case study. Implications for management across different areas of the SJBE are discussed.
Dengue is transmitted by Aedes aegypti, a species that thrives in cities. Here we ask which elements within the urban environment could be managed to reduce the potential for Dengue occurrence. In particular, we study the potential of wetlands in the SJBE to buffer from vector proliferation. Wetlands provide ecosystem services such as heat and water hazard mitigation, water purification and habitat for a diversity of species, all of which are factors that have been shown to affect Dengue vectors. As such, we hypothesize that within coastal neighborhoods in the SJBE wetlands, ecosystem services lead to lower Dengue occurrence. We test this hypothesis using Dengue data from 2010-2013, which includes the largest epidemic in PR history. Our analytical model includes relevant socio-economic factors and environmental controls that may also affect Dengue dynamics. Results indicated a negative effect of neighborhood mangrove cover and a positive effect of percent flood area on Dengue prevalence. Moreover, heat hazards were positively correlated with dengue prevalence and negatively correlated with neighborhood mangrove cover. Dengue prevalence did not correlate with herbaceous wetlands, or with the ecosystem services of water quality or vertebrate species richness.