Arbovirus surveillance in Rhode Island: Assessing potential ecologic and climatic correlates

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During 1995-2000, mosquitoes were collected from sites throughout Rhode Island and tested for the presence of arboviruses. Mosquito trapping was done weekly from June to October with CO2-baited light traps. In all, 186,537 mosquitoes belonging to 7 different genera were collected, of which Coquillettidia perturbans was most abundant. A total of 6,434 pools were processed for arbovirus isolation, from which 193 arboviral isolations were made. These included 109 Highlands J, 71 eastern equine encephalomyelitis, 1 California encephalitis serogroup, 2 Jamestown Canyon, 3 Cache Valley, and 9 Flanders viruses. Our isolations of Flanders virus represent the 1st reported occurrence of this virus in Rhode Island. After the 1999 sudden occurrence of the West Nile virus (WN) in the New York City area, a dead-bird surveillance program was started to test for this virus. Although no isolations of WN were made from mosquitoes, 87 virus isolations were made from a total of 330 wild birds tested. All the WN-infected birds were either American crows or blue jays. Isolation of WN from dead birds marked the 1st documented appearance of this virus in Rhode Island. Significant interannual variation of arbovirus activity in Rhode Island prompted us to examine if climate-associated factors such as rainfall and temperature correlate with virus activity. Total rainfall amounts from May to June were higher than normal in 1996 and 1998. These years showed significantly higher arbovirus activity. Deviations from normal temperature showed low correlation with arbovirus activity during the 6-year study period. Therefore, precipitation appeared to be more important than temperature in predicting arbovirus activity in Rhode Island. Copyright © 2003 by the American Mosquito Control Association, Inc.

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Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association





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