has looked at the relationship between land use and the virus's activity in key hosts, especially looking at how the disease moves across the landscape. For this the scientists evaluated how three land-use types (orchards, vegetable/forage crops, natural) and two climatic variables (temperature, precipitation) This showed that agricultural areas have seen higher percentages of infected people.
The data indicated that habitats with high instances of the disease in horses and birds also have significantly more mosquitoes. From this, the researchers speculate that mosquitoes are drawn to orchards for plant nectar during flowering.
West Nile virus
was first reported in New York in 1999 and since then it has reached across most of the U.S. In many cases the disease causes fever, headache, body aches and, in some cases, a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. The outcomes of the study may help to bring the disease under control.
The research was undertaken at the Washington State University
and the findings have been published
in the journal PLOS ONE.