AbstractsGeography &GIS

The Effect of Precipitation on the Spread of Mosquito-Borne Diseases: A Case Study of Florida Counties

by Marvin Osbourne

Institution: University of Central Florida
Year: 2015
Keywords: Dissertations, Academic  – Sciences; Sciences  – Dissertations, Academic; Precipitation; rainfall; arbovirus; mosquito borne; modeling; statistics
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2063808
Full text PDF: http://digital.library.ucf.edu/cdm/ref/collection/ETD/id/6731


The state of Florida is the third most populous state in the United States of America, with six (6) of its metropolitan areas dubbed as the fastest growing in the entire country. A mosquito bite may mean the transmission of a virus or disease which might be fatal. Hence, there is a need for the state to control mosquitoes through the various Departments of Mosquito Control in each of its sixty-seven (67) counties. Six locally acquired mosquito-borne viruses which affect humans and animals in the state of Florida were considered. This thesis used statistical methods to examine data for rainfall, population estimate, as well as, the data on six (6) arboviruses, over the course of thirteen (13) years, namely 2002 to 2014. The first hypothesis that was tested, was that greater precipitation increased the likelihood of a greater number of arbovirus cases. It was important to also examine the relationship that this growing human population had with mosquito-borne diseases, and so the second hypothesis that was tested, was that, an increase in the human population would increase the likelihood of a greater number of arbovirus cases. Subsequently, an analysis was done for eleven (11) of Florida's 67 counties with the greatest cumulative occurrence of human and animal arbovirus cases combined. Of the eleven counties, seven exhibited a weak associated between the size of the human population and the spread of animal and human arbovirus cases; three exhibited a somewhat moderate association; and one – Osceola County – had a strong negative association. This indicated that, as the size of the human population increased in Osceola County, the combined number of human and animal arbovirus cases decreased, which refuted the second hypothesis of this thesis. A linear regression model for the data for Osceola County was derived and that model was used to simulate what will occur in future years with the use of population projection data. In each simulated year, the number of combined human and arbovirus cases was negative. This prediction meant that, as the projected population increased from year to year, then the number of cases should be zero in each year. The reliability of these predictions are questionable, since Osceola County does not exist in a vacuum and it cannot be isolated from the surrounding counties which may be experiencing an outbreak of arboviruses. Advisors/Committee Members: Mohapatra, Ram.