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Climatic, ecological, and socioeconomic factors associated with West Nile virus incidence in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Formally Refereed
Authors: Graeme Lockaby, Navideh Noori, Wayde Morse, Wayne Zipperer, Latif Kalin, Robin Governo, Rajesh Sawant, Matthew Ricker
Year: 2016
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Journal of Vector Ecology


The integrated effects of the many risk factors associated with West Nile virus (WNV) incidence are complex and not
well understood. We studied an array of risk factors in and around Atlanta, GA, that have been shown to be linked with WNV in
other locations. This array was comprehensive and included climate and meteorological metrics, vegetation characteristics, land
use / land cover analyses, and socioeconomic factors. Data on mosquito abundance and WNV mosquito infection rates were
obtained for 58 sites and covered 2009-2011, a period following the combined storm water – sewer overflow remediation in that
city. Risk factors were compared to mosquito abundance and the WNV vector index (VI) using regression analyses individually
and in combination. Lagged climate variables, including soil moisture and temperature, were significantly correlated (positively)
with vector index as were forest patch size and percent pine composition of patches (both negatively). Socioeconomic factors
that were most highly correlated (positively) with the VI included the proportion of low income households and homes built
before 1960 and housing density. The model selected through stepwise regression that related risk factors to the VI included
(in the order of decreasing influence) proportion of houses built before 1960, percent of pine in patches, and proportion of low
income households.


West Nile virus, water quality, socioeconomic health risk, forest cover loss, urbanization, climate induced health risk


Lockaby, Graeme; Noori, Navideh; Morse, Wayde; Zipperer, Wayne; Kalin, Latif; Governo, Robin; Sawant, Rajesh; Ricker, Matthew. 2016.Climatic, ecological, and socioeconomic factors associated with West Nile virus incidence in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.. Journal of Vector Ecology. 41(2): 232-243.