Discriminant Analysis: a Method of Identifying Foci of Vector-Borne Diseases

Andrew B. CareyDepartment of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06510

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Identification of foci of vector-borne diseases does not require knowledge of exact abundances of vectors and pathogens; rather, a focus is defined by the presence, or some minimal level of abundance, of a vector and pathogen. Stepwise discriminant analysis (DA) was applied to data on free-ranging adult wood ticks (the vector) and to data on isolations of Colorado tick fever virus from small mammals. Trap stations were grouped on the basis of relative abundance of wood ticks for one set of analyses and on the presence or absence of virus for another set of analyses. Additional data consisted of easily measured environmental variables. It is concluded that DA provides a useful tool for analysis of ecosystem structure and an effective means of identifying foci of infection.