Mosquitoes as Pests and Vectors of Disease: A Collaborative Effort between Natrona County Health Department and University of Wyoming/Casper College

Napolitano, Skye
This project explored mosquito populations in Natrona County and focused on answering questions about local, adult female species composition and the present threat of West Nile Virus (WNV), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE), and St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE). The project's main goal was to work in close cooperation with Natrona County Health Department — Division of Mosquito Control to expand the knowledge base about local mosquito control and improve quality of life for county residents. Adult female mosquitoes were captured in New Jersey light traps as well as Centers for Disease Control (CDC) carbon dioxide traps. Specimens were identified and number and species was recorded. Select specimens from CDC traps were pinned for a reference collection while others were tested for the presence of WNV, WEE, and SLE. Testing using the VecTest Antigen Assay strips returned negative results for WNV, WEE, and SLE. Seven sites and 49 separate random samples were tested. Species composition of adult female mosquitoes consists of primarily Culex tarsalis, Culex pipiens, Aedes doralis, Aedes vexans, Aedes nigromaculis, and Culiseta inornata. It is important to note, however, that, in part due to an unusually active fire season this summer, regular mosquito counts were much lower than in previous seasons.
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