Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Douglas E. Brackney

Second Advisor

Amy K. Bei


Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) is an endemic arbovirus of increasing importance

in the United States. It is perpetuated via an enzootic cycle between Culiseta melanura

mosquitoes and avian reservoirs. In the northeast, transmission has distinct seasonality

and its overwintering mechanism is unknown. Xenosurveillance has been identified as a

possible way to elucidate viral circulation dynamics in states such as Connecticut that are

experiencing a resurgence of human EEE cases, potentially exacerbated by factors

associated with global climate change. This study sought to experimentally create an

antibody digestive curve for both mammalian and avian bloodmeals in Cx. quinquefasciatus

mosquitoes. Using this data and methodology, an antibody digestive curve could be

generated for other mosquito species and utilized for reference in future experimental and

field studies to evaluate the feasibility of xenosurveillance in the Connecticut EEE system.

The experimental goals of this study were to examine the digestion of antibodies in both

avian and mammalian bloodmeals using a direct enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

(ELISA). An ELISA was calibrated using human serum albumin antigen and a

complementary antibody was used in mosquito bloodmeals. Mosquitoes were collected at

6, 12, 24, and 48 hour timepoints in order to determine the limits of antibody detection in

bloodmeals over an extended period. Additionally, bloodmeal analysis was intended to

determine the limits of host identification over the same time points. Due to the COVID-19

pandemic and closure of lab facilities, experimental objectives were not met.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access