Dengue risk factor distribution in Harris County, Texas

Carolyn Elizabeth Barney, The University of Texas School of Public Health


As an important emerging arboviral disease in Texas and throughout the world, dengue fever has the potential to make a re-emergence in the Harris County/Houston metropolitan area. Harris County has seen dengue epidemics in the past. The area has a competent vector, Aedes aegypti, capable of transmission of the virus should it be introduced. It is important to examine areas of highest risk for dengue emergence and transmission in Harris County so that surveillance and educational programs can be properly implemented. This study uses mapping software to visually represent risk factor information with areas of known Ae. aegypti populations. This study focused on known demographic risk factors such as race/ethnicity, place of birth, gender as well as socioeconomic status represented by educational attainment and income. This study found that there are several areas, particularly in central Harris County that are at particular risk for dengue transmission. The findings support the hypothesis that in areas of lower socioeconomic status there were increased populations of foreign born populations, Hispanic populations, and identified locations of a competent vector present. These findings suggest that more specific surveillance of Ae. aegypti, testing of the mosquitoes for dengue virus, and active surveillance for human cases should be implemented in these areas.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Barney, Carolyn Elizabeth, "Dengue risk factor distribution in Harris County, Texas" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1454489.