Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Sam Alvey

Second Advisor

Jennifer Glowienka

Third Advisor

Kelly Cline

Abstract

First emerging in the United States in 1999, and Montana in 2002, West Nile Virus (WNV) has had a significant impact on human and avian populations. Due to this significance, a greater understanding of the factors affecting the prevalence of WNV is necessary. Mosquitoes were collected from 27 locations across the state of Montana throughout the summer of 2009. RT-PCR and TaqMan assays were used to identify positive pools of mosquitoes, with three locations testing positive. As avian species serve as a reservoir for the virus, it is hypothesized that locations testing positive for WNV should have a greater presence of reservoir competent species. A contingency analysis was run to test for an association between the presence of avian competent species and WNV, resulting in a p-value of 0.425. These results do not establish a statistically significant correlation between presence of reservoir competent species and WNV. However, due to limitations, further analysis is necessary to determine if a significant correlation exists and if other factors are involved.

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