Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020FL236B

Predictive assessment water-ecological conditions on abundance and presence of Aedes vectors in Florida

Institute: Florida
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $19,094 Total Non-Federal Funds: $40,287

Principal Investigators: Antarpreet Jutla

Abstract: Dengue (DENV), chikungunya (CHIKV), zika (ZIKAV) viruses are emerging threats to the global human health. Due to the historically limited number of disease outbreaks (especially for CHIKV and ZIKAV), etiological pathways of interaction of water and environment with conditions that trigger and transmit infection to human population is largely unknown. Key questions remain unanswered include (i) What environmental changes permitted these three virus to spread outside West Africa, with potential outreach on a global scale?; (ii) What triggers an infection in human population? and (iii) What population of continental US is likely to be affected by these viruses? The three viruses are carried by Aedes species of mosquitoes and the challenge is to predict when and where a particular type of viral infection will occur. Lack of availability of vaccines for all three types of infections limit medical intervention strategies and put human population at increased vulnerability to mosquito bites. The aim of the proposed research is to determine statistical and thereafter mechanistic enabling environmental conditions using earth observations under which the three types of viruses survive, co-habit and proliferate. Three observations form motivation to develop models to predict emergence of these viruses: (i) DENV, ZIKAV, CHIKV may not be eradicated from the environment since mosquitoes survive and adapt to a host of hydroclimatic conditions; (ii) Aedes mosquitoes have shown relationships with hydroclimatic and ecological processes; and (iii) earth observations provide unprecedented spatial and temporal coverage for several hydroclimatological processes. With availability of new and high spatial and temporal resolution satellite data, a prediction of environmental niches supporting these three viruses and identification of pathways through which vectors interact with human populations must be established to determine risk of disease outbreak(s). This approach will provide ensemble output(s), which can then be translated into decision making for vector control and disease mitigation