Publication Date

2019-05-03

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2019-05-03

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2019-04-02

First Committee Member

Imelda K. Moise

Second Committee Member

Douglas O. Fuller

Third Committee Member

William Petrie

Abstract

Flooding events such as hurricanes have become common throughout the world, yet our understanding of how these events affect the spatial and temporal distribution of disease vectors such as mosquitoes is limited. This knowledge can guide development of effective and timely strategies for mitigating mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in the aftermath of flood disasters. This study examined the influence of weather and socio-demographic factors on the spatial and temporal distribution of mosquitoes before and after Hurricane Irma in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Adult female mosquitoes were collected from August 15 through October 15, 2017 using CDC light traps (n= 30 traps) and BG-Sentinel traps (n= 131 traps). This period reflects 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after Hurricane Irma. In addition, 5 years of mosquito surveillance data from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 were used as a baseline. Weather-related variables (mean temperature and rainfall) were collected from Miami International Airport Station and socio-demographic factors were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau and the 2017 American Community Survey. Mosquito data from CDC light traps and BG-Sentinel traps were analyzed separately. A two-way ANOVA model in the IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 25.0 was used for statistical analysis. The factorial ANOVA model revealed that there was an increase in mosquito abundance immediately after Hurricane Irma (1 week after the hurricane) and 4 weeks later in both trap types, especially for 8 mosquito species namely: Aedes tortills, Culex nigripalpus, Culex quinquefasciatus, Anopheles atroparvus, Anopheles crucians, Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex erraticus, and Psorophora columbiae. On the other hand, mosquito populations decreased 1 week after Hurricane Irma in hurricane evacuation zone A, the most vulnerable area to hurricane related floods, but increased in the other four evacuation zones as well as in the no risk zone. However, mosquito populations increased in all hurricane evacuation zones 4 weeks after Hurricane Irma. Mosquito abundance was high in the weeks with high mean temperature and precipitation, and the increases of mosquitoes 1 week after Hurricane Irma were mainly concentrated in the neighborhoods of socially and economically disadvantaged groups, such as the communities with high African American and Hispanic populations, as well as low-income and unemployed households. Findings in this study demonstrate that GIS can effectively be used to characterize and identify the environmental and socio-demographic predictors of mosquito abundance during flooding events and should be incorporated into vector surveillance and control plans to identify high priority areas for targeted mosquito control at a landscape scale.

Keywords

GIS; Hurricane Irma; Miami-Dade County; Mosquitoes; Socio-demographics

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