Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2015 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Socioecological mechanisms of Ae. albopictus densities and associated health risks in Baltimore, MD
Little, Eliza
Co-Authors: Shannon L. LaDeau, Paul Leisnham

Abstract: In eastern US cities, Aedes albopictus has emerged as an aggressive day biting mosquito cited to reduce outdoor activity. Additionally Ae. albopictus is capable of transmitting multiple arboviruses, including chikungunya and dengue viruses. Estimating mosquito abundance is the primary tool for defining risk of nuisance biting and disease transmission. To this end, we surveyed five neighborhoods in Baltimore representing a range of socio-economic status (SES) during the summers of 2013 and 2014. We quantified differences in SES and the built environment and estimated Ae. albopictus populations in order to identify mechanisms that promote Ae. albopictus abundance. Furthermore we assessed how attributes of the local environment interact with rainfall to determine Ae. albopictus distribution. We find that the influence of precipitation varies by socioeconomic indicators. Specifically, in lower income areas there is a reduction of immature Ae. albopictus as precipitation decreases over the course of the summer while in higher income areas there are often more Ae. albopictus later in the summer. This discrepancy is likely linked to differences in container types across neighborhoods. Interestingly, once the presence of abandoned buildings is accounted for, areas of high vegetation consistently had fewer immature Ae. albopictus regardless of median income. This finding suggests that vegetation presence is more important than vegetation type as vegetation differs from manicured to unkempt across neighborhoods. We have identified key conditions that influence the distribution and abundance of Ae. albopictus across our focal neighborhoods which can be used to predict risk of infestation in other neighborhoods.