Anthropogenic land-use change may affect the transmission risk for endemic vector-borne diseases such as La Crosse encephalitis. In this study, we applied a comparative ecological approach to evaluate differences in vector species abundance, gonotrophic status, and environmental variables among six residential habitats (historical case houses) and six paired adjacent forest patches in a La Crosse virus endemic area of North Carolina. A total of 93,158 container Aedes spp. eggs were obtained by ovistrips and 1,040 resting mosquito adults were collected by large-bore aspiration from 10 June through 8 October, 2010. At sites characterized by high densities of artificial containers, the totals of eggs and adult mosquitoes were higher in the peridomestic plots. At sites characterized by lower densities of artificial containers, the totals of eggs and adult mosquitoes were higher in the forested plots. Although Aedes triseriatus, the primary La Crosse virus vector, was more commonly found in forested habitat overall, in sites characterized by high density of artificial containers, it was found in higher abundance in the peridomestic habitat. Similarly, the proportion of gonotrophically active (parous and gravid) mosquitoes was higher in the peridomestic habitat for sites with highartificial container density. Our study suggests that La Crosse virus transmission risk may be higher at peridomestic habitats with higher densities of artificial containers and thus reinforces the importance of public health measures to improve source reduction efforts.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1