A South Dakota State University professor is testing a new early warning system for the West Nile virus.
Michael Wimberly is a senior scientist at SDSU's Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence. Wimberly has analyzed satellite imaging data from 2000 to the present to study climatic variability and West Nile virus outbreaks in the northern Great Plains.
Wimberly's research with several other professors was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Wimberly says his initial forecast in 2010 was completely wrong. He developed more sophisticated models and his prediction was correct in 2011 and 2012. He says the research has shown that if scientists look broadly at the regional level, temperature is an extremely strong indicator of a West Nile outbreak.