Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Global Health

Major Professor

Thomas Unnasch


Arbovirus, Geographic Information Systems, Habitat Associations, Spatial Analysis, Spatial Epidemiology



Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) is an alphavirus with high pathogenicity in both humans and horses. Florida continues to have the highest occurrence of human cases in the USA, with four fatalities recorded in 2010. Unlike other states, Florida supports year-round EEEV transmission. This research uses Geographic Information Science (GIS) to examine spatial patterns of documented sentinel seroconversions and horse cases in order to understand the relationships between habitat and transmission intensity of EEEV in Florida. Sentinel sites were categorized as enzootic, periodically enzootic, and negative based on the amount of chicken seroconversions to EEEV. Sentinel sites were analyzed based on land classification data d using the Kruskal-Wallis test to determine which habitats were associated with disease transmission. Cluster analyses were performed for the horse cases using density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN). Ecological associations of EEEV were examined using compositional analysis and Euclidean distance analysis to determine if the proportion or proximity of certain habitats played a role in transmission. The research in these studies provides evidence of ecological associations for EEEV transmission in Florida that hasn't been previously analyzed. Furthermore, these studies provide the groundwork for better understanding of why there is a disproportionate number of horse and human cases of EEEV in Florida than in any other state.