Now, a team of public health researchers studying neighborhoods in Baltimore has added one more indignity to that list: poorer neighborhoods also have to deal with more serious mosquito infestations.
The researchers, led by Eliza Little of Columbia University, surveyed Asian tiger mosquito populations in five West Baltimore neighborhoods, spanning the gamut from the impoverished (Harlem Park) to the well-heeled (Bolton Hill).
For three years, they surveyed a number of factors known to influence mosquito populations: abandoned buildings, accumulating trash, sources of standing water and surface vegetation among them. They tallied mosquito larvae and pupae where they found them, and put up periodic traps to catch and count adult female mosquitoes (the ones that do the biting).
It turned out, unsurprisingly, that poor neighborhoods have more abandoned buildings and also have more accumulated trash and more standing pools of water, all conducive to mosquitoes.