Here, we model and forecast WNV infection rates among mosquito vectors in Suffolk County, New York using readily available meteorological and hydrological conditions. We first validate a statistical model built with surveillance data between 2001 and 2009 (m09) and specify a set of new statistical models using surveillance data from 2001 to 2012 (m12). This ensemble of new models is then used to make predictions for 2013-2015, and multimodel inference is employed to provide a formal probabilistic interpretation across the disparate individual model predictions. The findings of the m09 and m12 models align; with the ensemble of m12 models indicating an association between warm, dry early spring (April) conditions and increased annual WNV infection rates in Culex mosquitoes.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is an endemic public health concern in the United States that produces periodic seasonal epidemics. Underlying these outbreaks is the enzootic cycle of WNV between mosquito vectors and bird hosts. Identifying the key environmental conditions that facilitate and accelerate this cycle can be used to inform effective vector control.
This study shows that real-time climate information can be used to predict WNV infection rates in Culex mosquitoes prior to its seasonal peak and before WNV spillover transmission risk to humans is greatest.