Dengue virus is an emerging disease of concern in the Americas. Recent outbreaks in Florida highlight the potential for the virus to return to the United States. The Lower Rio Grande Valley region of Texas directly borders Mexico, and has experienced dengue transmission in the past concurrent with outbreaks in Mexico along the border region. We examined the potential for dengue virus transmission by examining the vectors in the region, as well as assessing human behavior. We further hypothesized that dengue vector abundance would influence human behavior. Two dengue vectors, Aedes aegypti (L.) and Aedes albopictus (Skuse), were found in the region in high abundance. More mosquitoes were collected in rural sites and sites with high vegetation. Of the two species, only Ae. albopictus showed any significant habitat preferences, being more common in rural site. While there was no correlation between human behavior and mosquito abundance, the results support a significant correlation between knowledge of mosquitoes and dengue virus and behavioral practices that might reduce risk of disease transmission. Dengue risk may be higher in certain regions of the Lower Rio Grande Valley based on socioeconomic conditions, specifically in economically poor regions such as the undeveloped colonias found in the region. Because of the proximity of this region to an area with endemic dengue, continued surveillance and risk assessment is suggested.
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Vol. 51 • No. 5