Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2006
Publication Date: 12/12/2006
Citation: Britch, S.C., Linthicum, K. 2006. An automated GIS/remotely sensed early warning system to detect elevated populations of vectors of Rift Valley fever, a mosquito-borne emerging virus threat. Amer. Soc. of Tropical Med. and Hygiene Proc.
Technical Abstract: Mosquito transmitted infectious diseases, like eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Rift Valley fever (RVF), and West Nile virus (WNV), pose an international threat to animal and human health. An introduction of RVF into the U.S. would severely impact wild ungulate populations and the beef and dairy industries, and cause significantly more human illness than WNV. If not rapidly contained with an integrated vaccine and mosquito control strategy RVF would spread by various Culex species mosquitoes as rapidly as WNV, and potentially become established in a cryptic Aedes mosquito-transovarial enzootic cycle; however, there is no system in place for detecting the spatial and temporal conditions suitable for a RVF outbreak. 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. We are developing a similar GIS/remotely sensed early warning system for RVF vectors in the U.S. Using satellite data and mosquito surveillance data, 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 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 implementation of control strategies in time to lessen or prevent animal and human disease.