Cornell University scientists are launching a full-scale study on the influence of climate on mosquito populations that transmit diseases such as West Nile virus (WNV) to humans. Funded by a $495,000 Global Programs grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the three-year project is a collaborative effort involving medical entomologists, climatologists, social scientists and risk analysts, as well as local and state health department officials.
"We propose to develop a system for predicting and monitoring risk of mosquito vectors, West Nile virus transmission and human health risk that will be readily usable by public health professionals for decision-making," says Laura Harrington, Cornell assistant professor of entomology and the projects principal investigator. "This system will provide a mechanism for early warning of West Nile virus risk and serve as a model for other existing and future vector-borne disease risks for which vectors are already present in the United States. These risks include Rift Valley fever, Japanese encephalitis and Ross River viruses."
Arthur T. DeGaetano, Cornell associate professor of climatology and director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center, is a co-principal investigator.
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