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Ecosystems

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 416–433 | Cite as

Contributions of Hydrology to Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Emergence in the Western USA

  • Emile EliasEmail author
  • D. Scott McVey
  • Debra Peters
  • Justin D. Derner
  • Angela Pelzel-McCluskey
  • T. Scott Schrader
  • Luis Rodriguez
Article

Abstract

Relationships between environmental variables associated with the spread of vector-borne pathogens, such as RNA viruses transmitted to humans and animals, remain poorly understood. Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is caused by a vector-borne, zoonotic RNA virus (VSV) and is the most common vesicular disease affecting livestock (domestic horses, cattle, pigs) throughout the Americas. This investigation focused on explaining patterns of more than 1500 VS-infected livestock premises in the western USA from 2004 to 2016 related to the ecology of the host-vector-virus-environment system. We investigated the relationship between VS incidents and habitat characteristics expected to be important to insect vectors: stream location, streamflow conditions, climate, and vegetation. Results show that VS incidents were distributed near the stream network with 72% located within 1 km of lotic habitat. Monthly incidents were closest to lotic habitat in April (x = 525 m) and furthest from lotic habitat in November, December and January (1843, 2141 and 4807 m) indicating that initial infection near streams may spread away from these locations. All first incidents (n = 35) occurred following peak annual streamflow, with 89% (31 of 35) of these occurring after streams returned to baseflow. This finding indicated that surveillance for VS could be targeted spatially in locally relevant geographic areas (that is, near streams) and temporally relative to local streamflow conditions which can be remotely monitored via existing web-accessible information networks. Habitat modeling of 11 subwatersheds revealed somewhat different models for each watershed with several factors important in multiple watersheds. In nine of the 11 watersheds, the highest model PC (31–71%) represented either higher-than-average long-term mean temperature or lower-than-average long-term mean precipitation. Approaching habitat modeling on a watershed basis reveals information to support additional research. These spatial and temporal relationships showcase the importance of hydrologic contributions to the emergence and distribution of an arthropod-borne disease in the western USA.

Keywords

vesicular stomatitis vector-borne disease streamflow western USA livestock horses virus transmission MAXENT 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Ryann Smith and Dustin Ward for data collection and mapping support. We also thank Dr. Mike Hobbins for providing Evaporative Demand Drought Index data. This work was supported by USDA-ARS CRIS Projects at the Jornada Experimental Range (#6235-11210-007), Plum Island Animal Disease Center (Project No. 8064-32000-058-00D), Center for Grain and Animal Health Research (#8064-32000-058-00D, #3020-32000-008-00D), and the Rangeland Resources and Systems Research Unit (#3012-21610-001-00D). Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation to New Mexico State University for the Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Research Program (DEB 12-35828) and DEB 14-40166. We thank Mr. Darren James and Dr. Geovany Ramirez of NMSU for additional analyses in support of this study. We thank the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist for support of DPCP.

Supplementary material

10021_2018_278_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jornada Experimental Range UnitUS Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceLas CrucesUSA
  2. 2.Arthropod-Borne Animal Diseases Research Unit, Center for Grain and Animal Health ResearchUS Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceManhattanUSA
  3. 3.Rangeland Resources and Systems Research UnitUS Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceCheyenneUSA
  4. 4.Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary ServicesUS Department of AgricultureFort CollinsUSA
  5. 5.Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit, Plum Island Animal Disease CenterUS Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceOrient PointUSA

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