Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 6, 2006
Publication Date: August 6, 2006
Citation: Britch, S.C., Linthicum, K. 2006. Rift valley fever virus: an emerging threat to wildlife, livestock, and humans in the u.s. - a review of issues and concerns, and a gis early warning system for rvf vectors. Wildlife Disease Association and American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians 2006 Conference, Storrs, CT, August 6-10, 2006. Technical Abstract: Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus is a mosquito-borne zoonotic hemorrhagic disease that causes 100% abortions in ungulates such as cattle, sheep, and goats, and is often fatal to young animals. Though currently confined mainly to Africa this disease could be introduced into the U.S. and spread via mosquitoes at least as rapidly as WNV. Unlike WNV, Rift Valley fever is also transmitted by contact with infected tissues or aerosolized material, and there is no approved vaccine for humans or animals. We discuss work being done on RVF by collaborators in agencies within and outside of the USDA, such as pathways analysis, development of vaccines and test kits, and GIS modeling of vectors and vector habitat. Of particular concern is the relationship between the biogeography of wild ungulates, the geography of human settlement and the livestock industry, and the biogeography of potential RVF vectors. Our contribution is developing a GIS and remote sensing platform for early warning of elevated vector populations in the U.S. using satellite climate data and long-term mosquito surveillance data. Currently, the best strategy against Rift is preparation. By monitoring climate in Africa, reports of RVF activity, and vector populations in the U.S., we can target and implement control and containment resources to minimize effects of Rift should it appear here. Importantly, many of the systems we develop in preparation for RVF can be laterally transferred to inform strategies against any mosquito-borne disease threat.