West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause serious illness in humans. Surveillance for WNV primarily focuses on a measure of infection prevalence in the Culex spp. mosquitos, its primary vectors, known as the Minimum Infection Rate (MIR). The calculation of MIR for a given area considers the number of mosquitos tested, but not the relative effort to collect mosquitos, leading to a potential underestimation of the uncertainty around the estimate. We performed Value of Information analysis on simulated data sets including a range of mosquito trap densities in two well-studied counties in Illinois between 2005 and 2016 to determine the relative error introduced into MIR associated with changing the density of mosquito traps. We found that low trap density increases the potential for error in MIR estimation, and that it does so synergistically with low true MIR values. We propose that these results could be used to better estimate uncertainty in WNV risk.
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