June 2019

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 25, No. 6, June 2019

Important Note: Not all articles that EID publishes represent work done at CDC or by CDC staff. In your stories, please clarify whether a study was conducted by CDC (“a CDC study”) or by another institution (“a study published by CDC in the EID journal”). Opinions expressed by authors contributing to EID do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CDC or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. EID requests that, when possible, you include a live link to the actual journal article in your stories. Once the embargo lifts, this month’s articles will be found in the Ahead of Print section of the EID website at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/ahead-of-print.

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the June 2019 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. The articles are embargoed until May 15, 2019, at noon Eastern time.

1.   Patterns of Abundance, Host Use, and Everglades Virus Infection in Culex (Melanoconion) cedecei Mosquitoes, Florida, USA, Isaiah J. Hoyer, et al.

Everglades virus (EVEV), a subtype of the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) complex, is a mosquito-borne virus found in south Florida. EVEV infection in humans is considered rare, probably because Culex cedecei, the mosquito that carries the virus, is rare in areas that humans have developed. However, the recent invasion of Culex panocossa (another tropical mosquito that carries VEEV subtypes) into nearby urban areas of Florida might increase the number of human EVEV cases in Florida. To help assess this potential emerging threat to human health, researchers conducted field studies in Everglades National Park to investigate when and where Cx. cedecei mosquitos are in abundance, the wild animals that they bite, and the prevalence of EVEV infection among them. Abundance of these mosquitoes was dynamic across season and region, though EVEV infection in Cx. cedecei mosquitoes occurred primarily in lower and upper regions of Everglades National Park and only during the wet season. Rodents (particularly Sigmodon hispidus rats) were the primary vertebrate hosts, constituting 77%–100% of Cx. cedecei blood meals. Humans also were fed upon at several locations. The dynamic nature of Cx. cedecei abundance and host use, as well as the potential involvement of other hosts (e.g., the Rattus spp. rodents common to the area) and other carriers of the virus (vectors) such as the newly arrived Cx. panocossa mosquito, increases concerns about human exposure to EVEV and other VEEV subtypes in Florida.

Contact: Nathan Burkett-Cadena, University of Florida—Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, Vero Beach, FL 32962, USA; phone: 772-226-6617; email: nburkettcadena@ufl.edu

2.   Enhancement of Risk for Lyme Disease by Landscape Connectivity, New York, New York, USA, Meredith C. VanAcker et al.

Lyme disease, previously thought limited to rural and suburban areas, is spreading to urban areas. After an increase in the number of cases on Staten Island, a borough of New York City, researchers examined Lyme disease risk in public parks in New York City and how risk is affected by landscape composition and connectivity. This risk is especially concerning because just over 80% of people in North America now reside in urban areas. Human risk for acquiring Lyme disease depends on the relative abundance of certain ticks, as well as deer and mice, which are part of the tick and pathogen life cycle. The researchers found that factors favorable to infected ticks were forested parks with vegetation around the periphery and how connected these parks are to each other. Therefore, although increasing urban green space has clear benefits for human well-being, climate change mitigation, and wildlife conservation, urban planners should be aware of and mitigate the potential spread of ticks and tick-borne pathogens in urban green spaces in the United States.

Contact: Meredith C. VanAcker, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA; phone: 734-730-4150; email: mv2640@columbia.edu



Page last reviewed: July 26, 2019