, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 42–51 | Cite as

The Effect of West Nile Virus Perceptions and Knowledge on Protective Behavior and Mosquito Breeding in Residential Yards in Upstate New York

  • Wieteke Tuiten
  • Constantianus J. M. Koenraadt
  • Katherine McComas
  • Laura C. Harrington
Original Contribution


A knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) questionnaire combined with entomological surveys of residential mosquito-breeding sites were conducted in two Upstate New York neighborhoods. We tested the hypothesis that “correct” West Nile virus (WNV) knowledge and perceptions correspond with the use of practices that prevent mosquitoes from breeding and biting. Our results demonstrate that perceptions of WNV relate to the number of positive containers in yards and the use of mosquito preventive measures. In contrast, WNV knowledge was not related. Culex pipiens and Cx. restuans were common species found breeding in containers. Aedes japonicus was the most abundant species in 77% of positive containers (buckets, flower pots, and birdbaths). This new, invasive mosquito together with the Culex species identified in this study represent significant potential as vectors of WNV and other arboviruses affecting human and animal health. We conclude that more training and education programs should focus on WNV control strategies and recognizing mosquito breeding in residential yards. This is the first study to directly investigate the relationship between KAP and breeding of WNV vectors in residential yards.


vector-borne disease West Nile virus Aedes japonicus Culex mosquito control perception human health behavior 



The authors thank the residents of the two areas in Ithaca, NY for participating in the survey and for allowing us to collect mosquito larvae and pupae in their yards. We thank graduate and undergraduate students of Medical Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Rachel Hathaway, Edgar Lei, Kalpana Pathak, Rehka Reddy, Sara Woo, Bianca Chang, Rebecca Poulson, Lauren Cator, Jonathan Darbro, Alongkot Ponlawat, and Hongfei Gong for interviewing and collecting mosquito larvae. We thank Morgan C. McKenna, Chris Clarke, and Zheng Yang for their comments on the manuscript. Support for this research was provided by grants from Hatch (NYC-139410) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NA04OAAR4310184).


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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wieteke Tuiten
    • 1
  • Constantianus J. M. Koenraadt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Katherine McComas
    • 3
  • Laura C. Harrington
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of EntomologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of CommunicationCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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