Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Geography, Environment and Planning

Major Professor

Joni Downs Firat, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Unnasch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

He Jin, Ph.D.


Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, Soil Characteristics, Soil Texture, Soil Drainage


Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) is a mosquito-borne virus found in Florida that affects humans and horses. Also, EEEV is an agricultural land management issue in Florida, as it causes mortality in large numbers of horses each year and sometimes humans. This study investigates the characteristics of soils associated with horse cases of EEEV in the State of Florida, focusing on differences in soil characteristics between summer and winter cases. This study analyzed a total of 676 EEEV cases during 2005-2018, including 611 summer cases and 65 winter cases. Soil characteristics that were examined include: soil texture, drainage class, hydrology group, and flooding frequency. First, horse cases were overlaid soils layers using a GIS, and soil characteristics at the case locations were summarized. Second, soil characteristics were summarized for 1.5-km buffers to understand soils immediately surrounding each case. For both the soil characteristics at the case locations and within the buffers, the observed values were compared with those expected at random. The results show that summer cases were positively associated with: sandy soils; medium drainage regimes; B, C, and D type hydrologic groups; and frequent flooding at the case locations but not within the surrounding landscape. Winter cases were positively associated with sandy soils; extreme drainage conditions; A type hydrologic group; and frequent flooding. This research improves our understanding about the relationships between soil characteristics and EEEV activity in Florida which may be useful for predicting hotspots of EEEV.