Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
DeKalb and Fulton Counties, which share the metropolitan Atlanta area, have seen an increase in West Nile infected vector mosquitoes; the increase is associated with close proximity to combined sewer overflow facilities. Despite completion of the remediation system in 2008, the mosquito population testing positive for West Nile virus has increased each year from 2010 through 2012. Guided by the Geographical Information System framework and using spatial analysis and regression analyses, this study described and quantified the relationship between sewer system overflows and amplification of vector mosquitoes; an additional goal was to investigate their proximity to human cases of West Nile VIrus (WNV) infections. Comparing the prominence of all WNV vectors revealed how different mosquito species occupy the area. The Culex species was not detected in adult surveillance in 2012; however, the infection rate of mosquito pools increased by 15% and the human infection more than doubled. The influence of sewer system overflows became pronounced when this study analysis also identified that a proportion of West Nile-virus positive mosquito pools was significantly higher in approximately 58% of trap sites within 1 km of sewer overflow events and 30% over 1 km distance from sewer overflow events. Thus, the research contributes to shared information both in support of previous findings and considering novel sources that contribute to the proliferation of WNV. This research can help reduce the rate of WNV infection and decrease the resources needed to protect the public.