Urbanization, Land Cover, Weather, and Incidence Rates of Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus Infection
thesisposted on 2016-10-19, 00:00 authored by Hannah Matzke
The first case of human West Nile Virus (WNV) in Illinois was reported in 2002, and infections have been reported in Illinois every year since. Many human infections are asymptomatic, but some exhibit flu-like symptoms, and the most severe infections become neuroinvasive and can be fatal. The transmission cycle is maintained between Culex mosquitoes and passerine birds, humans and horses are incidental hosts. Both birds and mosquitoes have preferred habitats and regional species variations; life cycle and behavioral patterns can be influenced by weather. Urban environments allow for close proximity of humans and mosquitoes, and may create microenvironments that are suitable habitats for mosquito populations to flourish. The aim of this study is to understand the associations of human neuroinvasive WNV infections and urbanization, weather, and land cover in Illinois using a multivariate model. These relationships are important to understand to assess the impact of climate change on future WNV transmission.