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 NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO 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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>