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Rainfall and vector mosquito numbers as risk indicators for mosquito-borne disease in Central Australia

Whelan, Peter I., Jacups, Susan P., Melville, Lorna, Broom, Annette, Currie, Bart J., Krause, Vicki L., Brogan, Brett, Smith, Fiona and Porigneaux, Philippe (2003). Rainfall and vector mosquito numbers as risk indicators for mosquito-borne disease in Central Australia. Communicable Diseases Intelligence,27(1):110-116.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Rainfall and vector mosquito numbers as risk indicators for mosquito-borne disease in Central Australia
Author Whelan, Peter I.
Jacups, Susan P.
Melville, Lorna
Broom, Annette
Currie, Bart J.
Krause, Vicki L.
Brogan, Brett
Smith, Fiona
Porigneaux, Philippe
Journal Name Communicable Diseases Intelligence
Publication Date 2003
Volume Number 27
Issue Number 1
ISSN 1447-4514   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 110
End Page 116
Total Pages 7
Place of Publication Canberra, ACT, Australia
Publisher Australian Government. Department of Health and Ageing. Office of Health Protection, Surveillance Branch
Language English
Field of Research 1103 - Clinical Sciences
1117 - Public Health and Health Services
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract There have been 5 confirmed cases of Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVE) infection in the Alice Springs region during the high rainfall years of 1999/00 and 2000/01, compared with one case in the preceding 9 years. There also appeared to be an increased prevalence of Ross River virus (RR) infection in the Alice Springs and Tennant Creek regions associated with high rainfall. This paper presents an analysis of summer rainfall from 1990/91 to 2000/01, numbers of seroconversion of sentinel chickens to MVE, and RR cases in both regions. In Alice Springs where summer rainfall (December to February) and average vector numbers in the December to March period are closely correlated, the analysis also included mosquito vector numbers and MVE cases. Summer rainfall over 100 mm was significantly associated with sentinel chicken seroconversions to MVE. From December to March there was also a significant association of average vector numbers (> or = 300) with seroconversions in sentinel chickens following high summer rainfall. MVE appears enzootic in the Tennant Creek region and epizootic in the Alice Springs region. In Alice Springs during December to March, there was a significant association of RR cases with rainfall over 100 mm and with average vector numbers over 300. There was also a significant correlation of summer rainfall with RR cases in Tennant Creek. Summer rainfall is a new and good early indicator of high risk for both MVE and RR disease in the Alice Springs locality and RR in the Tennant Creek locality. Although similar relationships between rainfall and vector abundance, and disease incidence probably exist in other areas of central Australia, rainfall and vector abundance thresholds will probably vary according to local climatic and environmental conditions.
Keywords Surveillance
Murray Valley encephalitis
Ross River virus infection
Culex annulirostris
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