A Risk Index Model for Predicting Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Transmission to Horses in Florida

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Arboviruses, Disease model, Spatial epidemiology

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A GIS-based risk index model was developed to quantify EEEV transmission risk to horses in the State of Florida. EEEV is a highly pathogenic arbovirus that is endemic along the east coast of the United States, and it is generally fatal to both horses and humans. The model evaluates EEEV transmission risk at individual raster cells in map on a continuous scale of 0-1. The risk index is derived based on local habitat features and the composition and configuration of surrounding land cover types associated with EEEV transmission. The model was verified and validated using the locations of documented horse cases of EEEV. These results of the verification and validation indicate that the model is able to predict locations of EEEV transmission to horses broadly across the state. The model is relatively robust to regional variation in EEEV transmission and habitat conditions in Florida, and it accurately predicted nearly all verification and validation cases in the Panhandle, North, and Central regions of the state. The model performed less accurately in the South, where relatively few cases are documented. Despite these differences, the model provides a useful way to assess EEEV risk both from a regional perspective and at more localized scales. The resulting predictive maps are designed to guide EEEV surveillance and prevention efforts by county mosquito control districts.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Applied Geography, v. 48, p. 79-86