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Spatial modeling of the social and environmental factors associated with the Pittsburgh mosquito population

Powell, Tori (2018) Spatial modeling of the social and environmental factors associated with the Pittsburgh mosquito population. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Mosquito-vectored pathogens are responsible for devastating human diseases, such as Zika virus, West Nile Virus (WNV) and Dengue virus. Zika has gained national attention in recent years because it can lead to birth defects if a woman is infected during her pregnancy. Because no vaccine exists to prevent or treat Zika, mosquito control is the most effective way to prevent this virus. Expectedly, concern for such diseases and their ability to spread within the United States has increased as mosquito habitats expand towards the East Coast due to climate change and increased temperatures. Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC have conducted studies in order to compare the density of mosquito habitat and pupae production across neighborhoods with varying poverty levels. No such research has examined mosquito prevalence in Pittsburgh, PA in relation to the population’s demographics or the physical environment. Improved knowledge of the social factors contributing to mosquito prevalence, such as poverty level and race and ethnicity, has public health relevance because it is necessary for effective mosquito control in urban environments. Pittsburgh-specific spatial data analysis and mapping will provide a better understanding of where mosquitoes lay their eggs, which will be helpful to the city when deciding how and where to concentrate their efforts. The number of mosquito eggs laid (2016-2017) were mapped against several factors, including: percent poverty and different ethnicities and races, public pools, highways, playgrounds, and other factors thought to be correlated with mosquito prevalence. Clustering of mosquito eggs and statistical relationships were determined using the spatial analysis program Geoda. Pittsburgh’s lower income residents were found to be at greater risk of exposure to mosquito-disease vectors; census tracts with a higher percent of black people and other minorities tended to host mosquito traps with a higher number of eggs. From these results, we infer that Pittsburgh’s lower income residents may be at greater risk for mosquito-vectored diseases. Public health officials should focus their efforts on spraying these identified areas and educating these community members on different ways to reduce the mosquito population and protect themselves.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Powell, Toritori.l.powell@gmail.comtlp62
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPeterson, Jamesjimmyp@tlp62jpp16UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberTodaro, WilliamWilliam.Todaro@alleghenycounty.usUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberJoel, HaightJMH212@pitt.edujmh212UNSPECIFIED
Date: 8 May 2018
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 38
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2019 21:42
Last Modified: 01 May 2021 05:15


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