Distribution of field caught mosquitoes from Laredo, Texas
Within the last decades, mosquito-borne viruses have re-emerged in the United States. These infectious viruses include Dengue, West Nile, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Chikungunya, just to name a few. Originating in sub-tropical and tropical regions, these viruses and the mosquitoes that transmit them know no borders. Laredo, Texas is a town which borders Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico; an area that is known to have frequent outbreaks of the Dengue virus. Identifying the diversity of mosquito species and the abundance of mosquitoes in the City of Laredo is a key element in aiding local public health officials in disease surveillance. This 9-month study was aimed to identify if the vectors for these viruses were present in Laredo, their distribution throughout the city, and if weather and environmental factors affect their presence. We found that the main vectors for Dengue (Aedes aegypti) and West Nile virus (Culex quinquefasciatus) are indeed present year-round with higher activity in areas that border Mexico and when temperature ranges between 16°C and 37°C. It is recommended that the City of Laredo conduct monthly surveillance of mosquito pools and increase community outreach to prevent disease transmission and potentially a future outbreak. These efforts will not eliminate the possibility of infection through a mosquito bite but may decrease the incidence of the vector-borne disease in the area.