Distributions, Movements, and Arboviral Dynamics of Invasive Aedes spp. Mosquitoes in US Gulf States
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Forestry and Wildlife Science
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The Gulf Coast of the United States is a region at high risk for the introduction and establishment of several mosquito-borne pathogens of high concern, including Zika virus, dengue virus and chikungunya virus. The Gulf Coast region plays host to both invasive mosquito species known to transmit these viruses, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, however there are critical gaps in our understanding of these species’ ecologies in this region. Understanding the distributions and movements of these mosquito vector species is critical to understanding the dynamics of potential outbreaks associated viruses, and to applying effective public health and vector control strategies for disease prevention. Here we present data on the distributions of invasive Aedes species in the understudied US Gulf State of Alabama, which suggest broad distributions of Ae. albopictus throughout the state as well as a new invasion by Aedes japonicus japonicus. We also describe potential movement into and between US Gulf Ports by Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus through maritime trading routes and highlight the risk to ports such as Houston, TX, which have particularly high connectivity to outside ports where these species are abundant. Taken together, these works provide information on the risks posed by these mosquito vector species to public health in the US Gulf Coast and provide suggestions for future research and for targeted public health and vector control strategies in this region.