Eco-Epidemiology of West Nile virus in Atlanta, GA
University Research Council (Emory University)
Through field observational and manipulative experiments, we are quantifying the role of a secondary vector (Culex restuans) on the transmission cycle of West Nile virus, with an emphasis on the identification of synergies between this species and the main vector, Culex quinquefasciatus.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is predominantly transmitted by Culicine mosquitoes which are highly associated with urban areas through their habitat in roadside catch basins. In Atlanta, GA, the dominant summer mosquito found in these basins is Culex quinquefasciatus (red bars to the left) while the winter dominant is Culex restuans (blue bars). The seasonal transmission of WNV in Atlanta and other areas of the urban core coincides with Cx. quinquefasciatus proliferation. We are working to determine how viral transmission is maintained through the cold season
We work in the Atlanta area to define the spatial and temporal distribution of Culicine individuals (larvae pictured below). Additionally, we test for the distribution of WNV throughout these vector populations. The main reservoir hosts, urban songbirds, are tested for virus and seroprevalence of WNV in order to determine species role in the transmission cycle of this pathogen.