May 24 2011

12:00 154 BSRB

Ryan Harrigan
Center for Tropical Research, Institute of Environment and Sustainability, UCLA

West Nile Virus: Past, Present, and Future


West Nile virus (WNV) is one of the most prevalent flaviviruses in the world, transmitted by vectors to primary and secondary hosts. Since its recent introduction, the disease has spread rapidly across North America, leading to annual avian and mammalian epidemics, and serious health risk to humans. West Nile virus incidence is correlated with environmental factors, yet little is known about which environmental conditions best explain spatial and temporal variation in WNVincidence, and how these relationships might change under future climate. We modeled WNV incidence under current and future climate conditions using an underutilized dataset on WNV infections in vectors and hosts collected from2001-present, in conjunction with observed and projected climate data and high-resolution satellite remote sensing data that capture ecological surface attributes. These models were used to link the broad continental patterns of WNV presence to fine-scale prevalence variation that may influence local transmission events. Understanding the relationship between regional environmental conditions and outbreaks of WNV will improve geographic risk assessments for particular viral hotspots, and will shed new light on how exotic diseases may be impacted under climate change.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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