The catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, led to the large-scale displacement of over 2.3 million people, resulting in rapid and unplanned urbanization in northern Haiti. This study evaluated the impact of this unplanned urbanization on mosquito ecology and vector-borne diseases by assessing land use and change patterns. Land-use classification and change detection were carried out on remotely sensed images of the area for 2010 and 2013. Change detection identified areas that went from agricultural, forest, or bare-land pre-earthquake to newly developed and urbanized areas post-earthquake. Areas to be sampled for mosquito larvae were subsequently identified. Mosquito collections comprised five genera and ten species, with the most abundant species being Culex quinquefasciatus 35% (304/876), Aedes albopictus 27% (238/876), and Aedes aegypti 20% (174/876). All three species were more prevalent in urbanized and newly urbanized areas. Anopheles albimanus, the predominate malaria vector, accounted for less than 1% (8/876) of the collection. A set of spectral indices derived from the recently launched Landsat 8 satellite was used as covariates in a species distribution model. The indices were used to produce probability surfaces maps depicting the likelihood of presence of the three most abundant species within 30 m pixels. Our findings suggest that the rapid urbanization following the 2010 earthquake has increased the amount of area with suitable habitats for urban mosquitoes, likely influencing mosquito ecology and posing a major risk of introducing and establishing emerging vector-borne diseases.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1