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 Londons 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 Wonhams 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.
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