Team Number: 019
School Name: Bosque School
Area of Science: Environmental Science
Project Title: Modeling the Spread of the West Nile Virus
The West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. This initial outbreak resulted in 62 serious human infections, which led to seven deaths. Two additional deaths and 19 human infections occurred last year in the US. By September 2001, the virus had been detected in wildlife populations in 18 states, and in Canada. It has spread from its first North American location, New York, to cover a region ranging from the Great Lakes area to northern Florida.
The purpose of our project is to create a model that will predict the spread of the West Nile Virus. The model will trace the virus's path and predict locations of possible future outbreaks. The output will be a graphical display of the regions that are infected. First, we will develop an understanding of the dynamics of the disease, such as its rates and modes of transmission. Next, we will develop a model that predicts the West Nile Virusís spread through air and ground vectors. Initially, we will limit our model to a small geographic region with a stable weather pattern, and our vectors to crows and mosquitoes. From there, the program will be expanded to include larger geographic areas, more migratory fly-ways, additional vectors, and broader weather patterns. When the program is completed, it will be a helpful tool for scientists and local health officials to combat future outbreaks.