Estimation of Dispersal Distances of Culex erraticus in a Focus of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus in the Southeastern United States

  • Estep L
  • Burkett-Cadena N
  • Hill G
 et al. 
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Patterns of mosquito dispersal are important for predicting the risk of transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens to vertebrate hosts. We studied dispersal behavior of Culex erraticus (Dyar & Knab), a potentially significant vector of eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) that is often associated with foci of this pathogen in the southeastern United States. Using data on the relative density of resting adult female Cx. erraticus around known emergence sites in Tuskegee National Forest, Alabama, we developed a model for the exponential decay of the relative density of adult mosquitoes with distance from larval habitats through parameterization of dispersal kernels. The mean and 99th percentile of dispersal distance for Cx. erraticus estimated from this model were 0.97 and 3.21 km per gonotrophic cycle, respectively. Parameterized dispersal kernels and estimates of the upper percentiles of dispersal distance of this species can potentially be used to predict EEEV infection risk in areas surrounding the Tuskegee National Forest focus in the event of an EEEV outbreak. The model that we develop for estimating the dispersal distance of Cx. erraticus from collections of adult mosquitoes could be applicable to other mosquito species that emerge from discrete larval sites.

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  • Laura K. Estep

  • Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena

  • Geoffrey E. Hill

  • Robert S. Unnasch

  • Thomas R. Unnasch

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