Evaluating Geospatial, Human Behavioral, and Social Drivers of Mosquito Abundance and West Nile Virus Disease Risk

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The Ohio State University

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Culex mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus (WNV) in the continental United States. Previous research has shown that Culex mosquitoes are more abundant in low-income areas, possibly leading to inequitable disease burdens across a wealth-health gradient. The ATSDR used U.S. census data to develop the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) as a measurement of social inequity, but to date no one has investigated whether social vulnerability is correlated with disease risk. Moreover, few studies have reviewed how personal knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) affect mosquito populations at a community scale. I reviewed whether community SVI and levels are predictive of mosquito population and WNV disease trends. I created areal interpolation maps using ArcGIS software to compare community SVI values against mosquito populations and WNV disease trends from two central Ohio health departments. I also administered a KAP survey that received approximately 308 usable responses from central Ohio residents that were spatially compared against mosquito populations and WNV disease trends from one central Ohio health department. Data analysis revealed that higher SVI levels were correlated with higher prevalence of WNV in mosquito populations. Notably, community-level KAP was not correlated with mosquito population or disease risk indicators. This study provides a foundation for future work to review the social and institutional factors affecting mosquito and WNV disease ecology, and thereby better equip public health institutions to protect their populations from mosquito-borne disease.



West Nile virus, Geospatial, Social, Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices