Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop risk assessment models and maps to successfully defend U.S. agricultural systems against an introduction of Rift Valley fever.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Incorporate additional climatological, land surface, and vector data, to improve the operational configuration of the Rift Valley Fever (RVF) risk model in endemic regions of Africa and the Middle East. Develop a GIS/remotely sensed early warning model system for potential RVF risk in the U.S. using mosquito surveillance data collected by mosquito control and public helath agencies, and climate data measured by satellites, such as NDVI, and terrestrial weather stations. The (1) timing, distribution, and abundance of competent vechors, (2) spatial distributions/interactions of the disease and its vector, and (3) availability of susceptible human, livestock and wildlife population data will also be analyzed to assess the potential risk of spread of RVF in the U.S.

3. Progress Report:
This research is related to in-house project Objective 6: Discover and characterize environmental predictors of the distribution of mosquitoes in order to assess the risk of invasive species and pathogen transmission. Apply to the development of methods and techniques to accurately assess mosquito population density, to deploy vector surveillance systems, and to detect exotic invasive species. We have maintained a network of mosquito population data providers in several regions of the U.S. and we have initiated the process of compiling and aligning population surveillance records into a single database. Population data compilation will be an ongoing effort, and processes are being developed to ease re-analysis as new data are added to the system. Data sources were targeted nationwide to maximize ecological diversity and geographic spread in order to support future phases of the population risk model that will calibrate predictions of population change based on regional climate-species idiosyncrasies. Mosquito population data from four states, Kansas, Colorado, Georgia and Florida, have been identified and prepared for initial analyses of climate-population relationships. Satellite-based vegetation index data for 1981 to present for North America were acquired from partners at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the image management and analysis Geographic Information System (GIS) software at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entmology (CMAVE) in Gainesville, FL, was optimized to import, re-project, and perform analysis on GSFC data. Ground-based meteorological data have been acquired from National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Data Center and formatted for analysis in the GIS at CMAVE. Vegetation index data and meteorological data for the four focal population regions have been prepared for analyses of climate-population relationships. We have successfully demonstrated clear relationships between changes in climate and changes in populations of medically important mosquitoes in two regions of the U.S. potentially important in a scenario of introduction of Rift Valley fever virus. Additional preliminary analyses in one region demonstrated that predictive algorithms for mosquito population change can be derived from a combination of satellite environmental data and ground-based meteorological data for some species.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 2/23/2016
Footer Content Back to Top of Page