Predicting West Nile Virus Infection Sites

West Nile Virus remains an important public health concern, since appearing in the United States back in 1999. A new study examined whether certain factors could help guide future interventions, education and prevention associated with West Nile Virus infections. “Part of the challenge of West Nile is that it’s very unpredictable in causing very focal and intense outbreaks throughout the United States. Mosquito surveillance is the most important thing that can be done by a public health department.” Dr. Wendy Chung and co-authors examined a 2012 outbreak including weather patterns, timing and geographic distribution of human cases and also mosquito infection.  Researchers analyzed 11 years of historical data from 12 counties. “Our outbreak years in 2012 and 2006 were associated with a lack of winter freezes, so lack of temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The same geographic areas within our county tended to be effected more heavily during outbreak years.” Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so researchers recommend removing items in your yard that can collect water and serve as a breeding ground.