2022 AMI Online Salon

Culex tarsalis and West Nile Virus in Iowa

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Ally Abel
  • Client: Ryan Smith, Iowa State University
  • Copyright:  Allison Abel, 2022
  • Medium/software used: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Webpage
  • Primary Audience: General Public

Project Description

“Culex tarsalis and West Nile Virus (WNV) in Iowa” aims to provide information about the prevalence of West Nile virus in Iowa, as well as to highlight the most common vector of the disease, the Culex tarsalis mosquito. This piece was completed as an internship, required by the program curriculum to develop skills in client communication and techniques in scientific visualization. It was produced as a graphical abstract of recent findings published by the client and highlights the transmission cycles and symptoms of WNV for use on a research-focused webpage. West Nile virus is an underreported disease, and it is important to inform those living in areas of higher WNV incidence about the symptoms and risks associated with infection, as well as the conditions that create opportunities for more frequent transmission. The female Culex tarsalis mosquito is depicted to provide the audience with the basic diagnostic characteristics of the biting insect. Stagnant water associated with agricultural production acts as a breeding ground for Culex mosquitoes; the life cycle of the mosquito is highlighted in its environmental context to help the audience understand factors that can increase mosquito abundance. In highlighting the relationship between agricultural production and WNV incidence, Iowa residents will be better informed about the risk of contracting West Nile virus in areas with higher agricultural activity.