Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Spatial Associations between Land Use and Infectious Disease: WNV in the United States and Zika in Colombia
by Weinstein, Josh S., Ph.D., George Mason University, 2017, 130; 10639131
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation seeks to address three research questions through the context of spatial associations between land use / land cover (LULC) and vector-borne infectious disease (VBID). These research questions are: (1) Do spatial associations exist between the linear (edge) density of LULC boundaries and VBID occurrence? (2) Do patterns of spatial associations repeat over time? (3) Do patterns of spatial associations repeat across space?

Understanding how LULC change influences disease emergence informs the prevention and mitigation of local disease outbreaks prior to transmission growth into regional epidemics or global pandemics. Close and frequent human contact with infected arthropod vectors near local-level LULC boundaries drives VBID emergence. Increasingly dense and fragmented LULC boundaries result from human activities in the expansion of urban, pastoral, and agricultural areas. Fragmentation increases the likelihood of pathogen spillover at local-level LULC boundaries, the human-physical interface. Unmitigated and uncontrolled local spillover events can grow in spatial scale and result in significant social and economic impacts. Measuring the human-physical interface to identify spillover hotspots prior to VBID emergence and increasing levels of disease transmission is paramount to protecting public health.

Methods that measure the human-physical interface influence our ability to identify areas with elevated risk of VBID emergence. Prior research used remote sensing, field research, or literature reviews to identify substantive associations between LULC and VBID emergence. The research within this dissertation focuses on the spatial association between the linear density of LULC boundaries and VBID occurrence through spatial statistical methods, to include Principal Component Analysis and negative binomial regression. Proportion abundance and patch density are supplemental landscape metrics that add context to linear (edge) density. Case studies involve West Nile Virus in the contiguous United States from 2003 through 2014 and Zika in Colombia, South America during 2016. The goal is a method that can make use of land development plans to identify areas that could experience elevated VBID occurrence.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leslie, Timothy
Commitee: Croitoru, Arie, Frankenfeld, Cara, Stefanidis, Anthony
School: George Mason University
Department: Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences
School Location: United States -- Virginia
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Land Use Planning, Latin American Studies, Epidemiology
Keywords: Fragmentation, Infectious disease, Land use, Landscape metrics, WNV, Zika
Publication Number: 10639131
ISBN: 978-0-355-46426-9
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