Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit
Title: Preparing for Rift Valley Fever in the U.S.: Implementing GIS and Remote Sensing to Detect Elevated Populations of Mosquito Vectors Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 4, 2006
Publication Date: October 4, 2006
Citation: Britch, S.C., Linthicum, K. 2006. Preparing for rift valley fever in the u.s.: implementing gis and remote sensing to detect elevated populations of mosquito vectors. Proc. of the North West Mosquito Vector Control Association, Newport, OR, October 4-6, 2006. Technical Abstract: New and emerging mosquito-borne viruses such as Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus pose a global threat to animal and human health. An introduction of RVF into the U.S. could severely impact livestock industries and wild ungulates, and cause significantly more human illness than West Nile virus (WNV). Unlike WNV there is no approved RVF vaccine for animals or humans and the virus could spread rapidly not just by mosquitoes, but also by contact with infected tissues. One approach to preparing for new mosquito-borne diseases is to know more about the vectors. We are developing a GIS-based early warning system that flags areas of the U.S. at risk for elevated vector populations. The system is driven by the association between long-term changes in mosquito populations and changes in climate at the local, national, and global level. The association is analyzed using mosquito surveillance data collected by mosquito control and public health agencies, and climate data measured by satellites and terrestrial weather stations. We have received data from four regions of the U.S., and we will continue to request data to cover the whole country to form as comprehensive a picture as possible regarding changes in mosquito populations over the last 50 years. The product of the early warning system will be predictions of vector population densities that may be used to coordinate and target vector control and disease containment strategies in the event RVF is detected. Ultimately the system will be of value to research in applied as well as academic settings, and will be a step towards unifying the efforts of mosquito control districts around the country should climate indices alert us of upcoming outbreaks. The system is easily adapted to provide information on vectors of any mosquito-borne disease, and can be used by mosquito control agencies to inform routine control activities at the local level.