In 2010, Arizona experienced an unusually early and severe outbreak of West Nile virus (WNV) centered in the southeast section of Maricopa County. Entomological data were collected before and during the outbreak, from May 25 through July 31, 2010, using the CO2-baited light trap monitoring system maintained by Maricopa County Vector Control. In the outbreak area, the most abundant species in the Town of Gilbert and in the area covered by the Roosevelt Water Conservation District was Culex quinquefasciatus, constituting 75.1% and 71.8% of the total number of mosquitoes collected, respectively. Vector index (VI) profiles showed that the abundance of infected Cx. quinquefasciatus peaked prior to human cases, suggesting that this species was involved in the initiation of the outbreak. In contrast, the VI profiles for Cx. tarsalis were consistently low, suggesting limited involvement in initiating and sustaining transmission. Taken together, the higher abundance and the VI profiles strongly suggest that Cx. quinquefasciatus was the primary vector for this outbreak. The VI profiles consistently showed that the abundance of infected mosquitoes peaked 1 to 2 wk before the peaks of human cases, suggesting that VI could have successfully been utilized to predict the WNV outbreak in Maricopa County, AZ, in 2010.
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