22 April 2013

Article Published on Mosquitos in DC & Baltimore

Paper by Dr. Shannon LaDeau, BES Co-PI, and colleagues was recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.  Below is a brief summary of the work.

Mosquito-vectored pathogens are (re)emerging in many urban environments, reinvigorating research efforts to understand patterns of urban infestations derived from complex interactions between ecological and social factors that define where mosquito populations can grow.  In this study we compared the density of mosquito habitat and pupae production across economically varying neighborhoods Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC.  We recorded seven species capable of transmitting human pathogens, including the invasive Aedes albopictus, which was the only species found in all neighborhoods.  Culex pipiens, a primary vector of West Nile virus (WNV), was predominantly found in Baltimore and was most abundant in abandoned tires. Both Culex and Aedes pupae (our best indicator of biting adults) were more likely to be sampled in neighborhoods categorized as below city-specific median income level.  The abundance of Aedes pupae was also greater in container habitats in lower income neighborhoods. We infer that lower income residents may experience greater exposure to potential disease vectors and Baltimore residents specifically, were at greater risk of exposure to the predominant WNV vector.  However, we also found that resident-reported mosquito nuisance was not correlated with our measured risk index, indicating a potentially important mismatch between motivation needed to engage participation in control efforts and the relative importance of control among neighborhoods. 

LaDeau, S.L., P.T. Leisnham, D. Biehler, D. Bodner. 2013. Higher mosquito production in low-income neighborhoods of Baltimore and Washington, DC: understanding ecological drivers and moquito-borne disease risk in temperate cities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 10:1505-1526. doi:10.3390/ijerph10041505.  http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/4/1505

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