Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/24/2006
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Much work has been done to understand the pathways along which Rift Valley fever (RVF) could be introduced to the U.S., to study the vector competence and vectorial capacity of various mosquito species that could transmit RVF, and to develop safe vaccines and reliable test kits. However, we do not know enough about the populations of the vectors themselves in the U.S. In Africa remotely sensed environmental data have been used to predict conditions preceding production of large populations of mosquito vectors and thus the earliest stages in a RVF epizootic, but there is no system in place for detecting the spatial and temporal conditions suitable for a RVF outbreak in the U.S. We are developing a GIS/remotely sensed early warning system for RVF vectors in the U.S. using mosquito surveillance data collected by mosquito control and public health agencies, and climate data measured by satellites and terrestrial weather stations. The GIS predicts disease transmission patterns based on the quantitative relationship between mosquito activity and patterns of local and global climate, and identifies early warning parameters associated with elevated populations of potential RVF vectors. Linkages between climate and mosquito densities are evaluated with spatial and temporal statistics, generating risk maps to inform vector control strategies. Mosquito prediction information will be disseminated throughout the U.S., granting several months warning before conditions are suitable for elevated mosquito populations, permitting targeted implementation of control strategies in time to lessen or prevent animal and human disease. Since the GIS contains all available historic data on all mosquito species in the U.S. it is easily adapted to provide early warning for vectors of any mosquito-borne disease.