Term of Award

Fall 2006

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

William Irby

Committee Member 1

Oscar Pung

Committee Member 2

Lance Durden

Committee Member 3

Quentin Fang

Abstract

Mosquito populations associated with equine and avian cases of West Nile Virus infections in five counties in southeastern Georgia were sampled in 2003 and 2004. More than 10,500 mosquitoes representing over 20 species were collected at 25 sites using light traps and vacuum aspirators. Of these, 8,500 mosquitoes were tested for the presence of West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, and Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus in 411 separate pools of 1-50 mosquitoes. No virus positive mosquitoes were detected. Blood meals from 377 engorged specimens caught at these sites were identified as of mammalian, avian, or reptile/amphibian origin using serological methods. Overall, results suggest that Culex nigripalpus was the most likely vector of West Nile Virus at rural sites in southeastern Georgia, because of the relative abundance of this species and its pattern of blood feeding on both birds and mammals.

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