Vector Borne Disease Risk Mapping in Mobile County, Alabama

The above map displays the areas where the WNV and EEE chain of infection are present when the risk population density is defined as 100 persons per sq. mile.

The above map displays the areas where the WNV and EEE chain of infection are present when the risk population density is defined as 100 persons per sq. mile.

Team location: Mobile County Health Department

Authors:
Walt Clark
Melinda Bottenfield
Alyson Cederholm
Christopher Frederick
Josh Stodghill (Mobile DEVELOP Center Lead)
Charles White
Dr. Bert Eichold, Mobile County Health Department (Science Advisor)
Ms. Karen Jordan, University of South Alabama (Science Advisor)
Dr. Jim Connors, University of South Alabama (Science Advisor)
Mr. Joe Spruce, Computer Science Corporation (Science Advisor)

Abstract: Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV) predominantly affect the eastern United States’ coastal plains region. Although these viruses infect a wide range of animals they are generally maintained in nature through a bird-mosquito cycle. Mobile County has had sporadically reported human cases of EEE and WNV infections within recent years. In an effort to track the diseases, the Mobile County Health Department uses sentinel flocks to identify areas where the vector is present; however, this effort is limited by the number of sentinel flocks. This project provided new insight through the use of NASA Earth Observing Systems. By focusing on the individual components that make up the chain of infection of WNV and EEE, the project identified areas where there was risk for the genesis of a vector born disease outbreak. Considering land-use land-cover, soil moisture, topography, and precipitation data collected by NASA EOS, partner satellites and ground based sensors, likely areas of vector and reservoir habitats were assessed. Once this data was established, maps identifying vulnerable communities at risk of exposure to the viruses were created. At-risk communities were identified based on Census Bureau data, high risk facilities, and the predicted infected vector habitats. The results of this project were presented to the Mobile County Health Department. Data and results from this project were also provided to the Department of Vector Control to assist current vector management practices.

Download the poster PDF here.

Video transcript available here.

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