Research supports mosquito indexing system that identifies best time to act against potential West Nile virus outbreaks

Research supports mosquito indexing system that identifies best time to act against potential West Nile virus outbreaks

Researchers have unlocked some of the mysteries of West Nile virus outbreaks and shown that use of a mosquito vector-index rating system works well to identify the best time for early intervention.

via ScienceDaily: Top Health News:

July 16, 2013 — UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have unlocked some of the mysteries of West Nile virus outbreaks and shown that use of a mosquito vector-index rating system works well to identify the best time for early intervention.West Nile infections in humans can cause long-term neurological damage and even death. The investigation analyzed a decade of West Nile infections, weather, and housing data. The 2012 data — from the nation’s largest West Nile outbreak that occurred in Dallas County, Texas — revealed that the best way to avoid an outbreak and stave off the resultant rise in human infections was to determine a mosquito vector index. The vector index value is calculated from the abundance of mosquitoes and the percentage of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus.”When the vector index goes above 0.5 early — in June or July — large numbers of people are silently infected, and this is the best time to intervene,” said Dr. Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology and professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study published in the July 17 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. “In years when the vector index did not rise until late July or August, impending outbreaks just sputtered — in late summer mosquito abundance declines, and mosquitoes become less active and stop biting as much.”The study also showed that determining the number of West Nile virus infections in people is a poor way to determine how to respond to an outbreak.”After the infecting mosquito bite, it takes a week for the first symptoms to develop, a week to see people turning up at hospitals, and a week for laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis and reporting to health officials,” Dr. Haley said. “That three-week time period is crucial. Acting early from the vector index rather than after human case reports and deaths mount up can nip an outbreak in the bud. However, if mosquito data are unavailable or a decision to intervene takes longer, later intervention may still be important to terminate the outbreak.”The analysis also found that milder winters and unusually warm spring temperatures contributed to epidemic years for West Nile, a major concern as global temperatures continue to warm, Dr. …

For more info: Research supports mosquito indexing system that identifies best time to act against potential West Nile virus outbreaks

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Research supports mosquito indexing system that identifies best time to act against potential West Nile virus outbreaks

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