Mapping Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Risk on Equestrian Trails in Florida State Parks

Authors

  • Joni Downs School of Geosciences University of South Florida http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7226-2411
  • Mehrdad Vaziri School of Geosciences University of South Florida
  • Abigail V. Lavallin School of Geosciences University of South Florida
  • Kristi Miley USF Center for Global Health Infectious Disease Research, University of South Florida
  • Thomas R. Unnasch USF Center for Global Health Infectious Disease Research, University of South Florida

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18666/JPRA-2021-10447

Keywords:

arbovirus, risk model, leisure, geographic information systems

Abstract

Equestrian trail riding is a popular recreational activity but can expose horses and riders to arboviral diseases, such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV). This study uses a geographic information system (GIS) -based risk index model to measure and map risk associated with EEEV transmission to horses on equine trails in State Parks across Florida. The risk model assesses EEEV transmission risk of individual trail locations on a continuous scale of 0.0 (no measurable risk) to 1.0 (maximal risk). Risk is evaluated based on the composition and configuration of habitat types that support vectors and hosts of the virus. The results suggest that visitors using equestrian trails in the Florida State Park System may potentially be exposed to high levels of EEEV risk during times that the virus is actively circulating. Accordingly, park management strategies are recommended for reducing transmission risk to both horses and riders in areas where risk is high.Subscribe to JPRA

Author Biography

Joni Downs, School of Geosciences University of South Florida

Associate ProfessorSchool of Geosciences

Published

2021-02-23

Issue

Section

Research Notes