Date of Conferral





Public Health


Talmage Holmes


West Nile virus (WNv) is the most widely distributed flavivirus and considered a vector-borne pathogen of global significance. During the study period from 2002 to 2018, WNv had the highest incidence of locally acquired human cases when compared to any other mosquito borne illness in Florida with 373 cases documented during the study period. The purpose of the study is to determine if there is an association between Florida landfall tropical storms (LTS) and the incidence of locally acquired human WNv cases from 2002 through 2018. The study used a retrospective ecological study design guided by the epidemiological triad model of infectious disease causation. Florida Department of Health provided the data for human cases of WNv, landfall tropical storm information obtained from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Center, and climatic data gathered from Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) and NOAA National Center for Environmental Information (NECI). The study used a linear regression analysis to determine if an association between landfall tropical storms and local cases of human WNv exists. The results showed LTS precipitation (p = .893) and LTS temperature (p = .128) individually were not significant predictors of locally acquired human cases of WNv. Collectively, LTS precipitation and LTS temperature did not significantly predict incidence of locally acquired human cases of WNv in Florida. The study used multiple linear regression analysis for precipitation and temperature data from areas unaffected by LTS. Results from the regression analysis indicated precipitation (p = .000) and temperature (p = .185) from unaffected areas together were significant predictors of human cases of local acquired WNv.