Dr. Paulson looks at the role of exotic mosquito species in the distribution and incidence of disease.
The most significant role played by mosquitoes in public health is as vectors of various pathogenic organisms. Understanding the biology of the vector is crucial to understanding the epidemiology of the diseases transmitted by these insects. A major focus of Dr. Paulson's lab research is La Crosse (LAC) encephalitis virus, the most common and important endemic mosquito-borne disease of children in the USA. LAC encephalitis virus has been on the move, expanding its range from the traditional upper Midwest distribution into the Southeast. To investigate the apparent emergence of LAC virus into areas of southwestern Virginia Dr. Paulson is looking at various factors such as the role of newly introduced mosquito species in the transmission of disease and developing better methods to measure the rate of virus transmission in a location.