Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


West Nile virus warning system


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 University’s 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. "Cornell’s 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.

The research, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will occur in four stages. First, climatologists and entomologists will gather climate data and synchronize this with mosquito habitat observations. These data then will be related to mosquito-count information through statistical analysis for mapping and graphing. From this information, indices will be developed for moisture surpluses, degree day-based mosquito development and killing freezes. Finally, all this data will be put on the Web for public health officials’ use.

Mosquitoes develop in microhabitats, according to Laura Harrington, Cornell assistant professor of entomology and a co-principal investigator on the project. The correlation of climate data with microhabitat information will provide scientific clues to how mosquito populations develop and age. Older mosquitoes are the carriers of West Nile virus, becoming contaminated when they feed on infected "reservoir" animals such as birds, and undergo an incubation period of the virus that can last 7-14 days. During subsequent blood meals after this incubation period, the mosquitoes inject the virus into humans and animals, where it can multiply and sometimes cause illness. It is outdoor temperatures that determine both the rate at which the virus replicates and the rate at which mosquitoes age.

While mosquitoes can live as long as three or four months in a laboratory, their life span in the wild is much shorter. Thanks to predators and pathogens, the longest a mosquito can live is probably three to four weeks, says Harrington. During the height of summer heat, a mosquito can age and become a full adult within seven to nine days.

The study also will gather information on early establishment and climate-influenced development of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in specialized habitats such as discarded tires and other types of containers that tend to be located close to human dwellings.

Catherine Westbrook, a Cornell graduate student in entomology, and Renee Anderson, a medical entomology extension associate, will monitor mosquito microhabitats in several Northeast locations this summer.

Contact: Blaine P. Friedlander Jr.,

Blaine P. Friedlander Jr. | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>