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  • Author or Editor: Nicholas A. Ledesma x
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OBJECTIVE To assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) and mosquito vectors among residents (dog owners and non-dog owners) in 2 neighborhoods in Florida and to perform entomological surveys of mosquito species in these neighborhoods and identify mosquito species infected with heartworm.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE 2,572 mosquitoes and 96 residents of 2 northern Florida communities.

PROCEDURES A 32-item questionnaire was orally administered to a convenience sample of community residents to collect information on their knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding heartworms. Afterward, mosquito larvae were collected from the respondents' properties and adult mosquitoes were collected in both communities from surrounding wooded areas and residences of respondents. Mosquito species distribution and D immitis infection rates were determined.

RESULTS Many residents (59% [57/96]) were unaware that mosquitoes transmit heartworms. Compared with non-dog owners, dog owners were significantly more likely to know about mosquito transmission, be concerned about heartworms, accurately estimate cost of treatment, and demonstrate willingness to pay for treatment. Most owners (71% [47/66]) administered heartworm preventives; those who did not cited lack of risk awareness, and cost was the least common reason. Of 28 mosquito species collected, Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex erraticus, Culex nigripalpus, Coquillettidia perturbans, Culiseta inornata, Aedes albopictus, and Aedes aegypti were positive for D immitis infection.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings suggested that improved veterinary and public health messaging regarding the role of mosquitoes as vectors, higher cost of heartworm treatment versus prevention, and mosquito reduction and avoidance methods is needed.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



American bison (Bison bison) quarantine protocols were established to prevent transmission of brucellosis outside the Greater Yellowstone Area, while allowing for distribution of wild bison for conservation and cultural purposes. Quarantine standards require rigorous testing over 900 days which has led to the release of over 200 bison to Native American tribes. Standards were evaluated using 15 years of laboratory and management data to minimize the burden of testing and increase the number of brucellosis-free bison available for distribution.


All bison (n = 578) from Yellowstone National Park were corralled by the National Park Service and United States Department of Agriculture.


A statistical and management evaluation of the bison quarantine program was performed. Bayesian latent-class modeling was used to predict the probability of nondetection of a seroreactor at various time points, as well as the probability of seroconversion by days in quarantine.


At 300 days, 1 in 1,000 infected bison (0.0014 probability) would not be detected but could potentially seroconvert; the seroconversion model predicted 99.9% would seroconvert by day 294, and 12.8% of bison enrolled in quarantine would seroconvert over time. Using a 300-day quarantine period, it would take 30 years to potentially miss 1 seroreactor out of over 8,000 bison enrolled in the quarantine program.


Reducing the quarantine program requirements from over 900 days to 300 days would allow management of quarantined bison in coordination with seasonal movement of bison herds and triple the number of brucellosis-free bison available for distribution.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association