WVII interviews Gardner about mosquito-borne illness research

WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Allison Gardner, an assistant professor of arthropod vector biology at the University of Maine, about her research examining the relationships among the spread of mosquito-transmitted diseases, perceptions of mosquito-borne disease risk and human travel. Gardner and Sandra De Urioste-Stone, an assistant professor of nature-based tourism, recently were awarded $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation for the study. Gardner said travel by infected humans has the potential to spark global epidemics. “People simply don’t realize they are sick and so they continue traveling and as they are moving through their travels there’s the potential for them to introduce a disease into a new location completely unaware of it,” she said. “So when a mosquito bites them in this new location, the mosquito becomes infected and the transmission cycle can persist.” The researchers said they hope the study will result in the development of models that can better predict where outbreaks happen, guide where public health resources are allocated, and spark intervention efforts during the early stages of an epidemic, WVII reported. The Associated Press also reported on the study. The Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5), U.S. News & World Report, Miami Herald, Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Georgia, Boston.com and Seacoast Online carried the AP report.