West Nile virus was first found in North America in 1999. From there, it spread across the continent, reaching Illinois in 2001. The GISSA lab is on a team with scientists from Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin and Emory University to determine the transmission dynamics of West Nile virus. We have focused our efforts on an area in south Cook County, where human illness was notable in the 2002 epidemic. Take a look at our 2011 predictions for mosquito infection in Chicago, IL.
West Nile virus can cause serious illness in people and in horses, but it is sustained primarily in birds and is transmitted by mosquitoes. In our work, we analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of infection in humans, horses, birds and mosquitoes in order to better understand the conditions that promote an increase in the virus in the wild and cases of illness in people. The figure at right shows how we have “predicted” mosquito infection in Cook and DuPage counties using spatial data and statistical methods. See our paper, "Local impact of temperature and precipitation on West Nile virus infection in Culex species mosquitoes in northeast Illinois, USA" for details.