In combating West Nile virus, information could be the ultimate repellant. In an effort to develop an early-warning system for potential West Nile virus outbreaks, Cornell Universitys Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) and the Department of Entomology will spend this summer collecting climate data in areas where disease-carrying mosquitoes are found.
The U.S. government-funded research, it is hoped, will result in the first Web-based, degree-day calculator that warns public health officials when, where and under which conditions infectious mosquitoes can either thrive or die. The information is expected to be on line by next summer.
"Scientists, whether they are climatologists or medical entomologists, have never fully examined the relationship between climate and the proliferation of the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus," says Arthur T. DeGaetano, Cornell associate professor of climatology and director of the NRCC, is one of the principal investigators on the project. "Cornells College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is unique in that collaborations like this are very possible. Interaction between climatologists and medical entomologists can be at a level where information -- once it is gathered and processed -- can be readily employed in vector management schemes," he says.
Blaine P. Friedlander Jr. | EurekAlert!
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