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West Nile virus (WNV) has become the most epidemiologically important mosquito-borne disease in the United States, causing ~50,000 cases since its introduction in 1999. Transmitted primarily by Culex species, WNV transmission requires the complex interplay between bird reservoirs and mosquito vectors, with human cases the result of epizootic spillover. To better understand the intrinsic factors that drive these interactions, we have compiled infection data from sentinel chickens, mosquito vectors, and human cases in Iowa over a 15 year period (2002–2016) to better understand the spatial and temporal components that drive WNV transmission. Supplementing these findings with mosquito abundance, distribution, and host preferences data, we provide strong support that Culex tarsalis is the most important vector of human WNV infections in the region. Together, our analysis provides new insights into WNV infection patterns in multiple hosts and highlights the importance of long-term surveillance to understand the dynamics of mosquito-borne-disease transmission.
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Dunphy, Brendan M.; Kovach, Kristofer B.; Gehrke, Ella J.; Field, Eleanor N.; Rowley, Wayne E.; Bartholomay, Lyric C.; and Smith, Ryan C., "Long-term surveillance defines spatial and temporal patterns implicating Culex tarsalis as the primary vector of West Nile virus" (2019). Entomology Publications. 554.