Submitted to: Society for Vector Ecology Bulletin
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/29/2006
Publication Date: 9/29/2006
Citation: Britch, S.C., Linthicum, K. 2006. Rift valley fever: preparing for potential new mosquito-borne diseases in the u.s. with a vector surveillance system. Society for Vector Ecology Bulletin.
Technical Abstract: In this symposium we have discussed four diseases that are emerging threats in the U.S., and it may be concluded that in our best defense knowing the vector is as important as knowing the disease. Rift Valley fever, Dengue, and JEE are but a few of the many emerging diseases that we can prepare for by understanding the biogeography and long-term population dynamics of their vectors. In Africa remotely sensed environmental data are 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. However, work is being done on RVF by collaborators in agencies within and outside of the USDA, such as pathways analysis, automated searching for RVF outbreak reports, development of vaccines and test kits, GIS modeling of the geography of human settlement, the livestock industry, and wild ungulates, and GIS modeling of vectors and vector habitat (including climate and vectorial capacity). Our contribution is developing a GIS and remote sensing platform for spatially-explicit early warning of elevated vector populations in the U.S. using satellite climate data and long-term mosquito surveillance data from mosquito control and public health agencies. By monitoring climate in Africa and the U.S., reports of RVF activity around the world, and climate-driven predictions of elevated vector populations in the U.S., we can target and implement control and containment resources to minimize effects of Rift should it appear here. Currently, the best strategy against Rift and other emerging diseases is preparation. Importantly, many of the systems we develop in preparation for RVF, in particular vector population surveillance, can be laterally transferred to inform strategies against any mosquito-borne disease threat.