Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers develop model to help control West Nile outbreak

14.01.2004


A University of Alberta researcher has developed the first model to predict risk of West Nile virus in North America--a tool that could help prevent the infectious disease from becoming an outbreak.



Dr. Marjorie Wonham and her research team from the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Alberta, created a simple mathematical model using the dead bird counts collected in New York in 2000. Her research is published in the current issue of the Royal Society of London’s journal Proceedings B. Tomas de-Camino Beck and Mark Lewis are co-authors on the paper.

West Nile virus is an emerging infectious disease in North America that spreads primarily through contact between birds and mosquitoes. It can be lethal to birds, horses and humans. One of the key findings from Wonham’s work is that chance of a virus outbreak is decreased by removing mosquitoes but is actually increased by removing birds. The model provides a new analytical method for determining necessary mosquito control levels.


"This virus is endemic and we’re probably never going to get rid of it completely unless we say that we’re going to kill all the mosquitoes in the world--that’s not going to happen," said Wonham. "What this work does is tell you just what percentage of mosquitoes is necessary to kill to keep the virus below an outbreak. This is a first step towards effective management."

The research group set up parameter values from published scientific papers on mosquito biology, crow biology and West Nile biology. In order for a specific region to use this model, officials could tailor such parameters as mosquito life span, biting rate and crow life span to the data in their area. For example, since summer in Edmonton is short and dry, the mosquito lifecycle might be quite different than in the longer, more humid summer of New York.

Currently mosquitoes are killed through the application of chemical larvicides to the water, filling in the wetlands to remove the habitat and as a last resort, spraying chemicals to kill the adult species.

"Since applying chemicals and filling in wetlands costs money and causes environmental damage, one would ideally use the minimum amount of control that would still be effective in preventing outbreak," said Wonham. "Our model lets you calculate the threshold mosquito population for West Nile outbreak--you just have to keep them below the threshold level. This means, we would hope, minimal economic cost and environmental damage while still preventing outbreak."

Mathematical models have been used to manage diseases such as malaria but this is the first one to deal with West Nile.

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

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: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>