This statewide early warning system will map the invading front of vector-borne human diseases, such as Zika virus and Lyme disease. The Asian Tiger Mosquito, a disease-vector first found along the Gulf Coast and now routinely collected in Indiana, is of special concern because of the viral pathogens it carries, including dengue fever, yellow fever, Chikungunya fever and Zika viruses.
Ticks transported by birds and deer can transmit encephalitic viruses, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Ehrlichiosis, spotted fevers, malaria-like Babesia and Lyme disease.
Avian flu is spread by direct contact between birds and agricultural species and is of huge economic importance to Indiana’s poultry industry. As a migratory bird crossroads, Indiana is an ideal site for studying geographic range changes of harmful animals in response to climate.
The data collection will serve to target microbes for disease control efforts while minimizing the negative consequences on beneficial organisms such as bacteria that sequester greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
For Hoosiers, Project Vector Shield will offer a website populated with real-time data structured by the team’s surveillance and research.
Project Vector Shield is part of the Movement Ecology working group.