Research has found that when humans modify the environment, fragmenting habitat and reducing species diversity, we are more likely to contract diseases normally confined to wildlife.
This year's West Nile virus outbreak is marching toward the record books, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting some 3,100 cases and more than 130 deaths in the United States.
We've had a wet stretch of weather. First we were drenched by Irene, then again with Lee. Saturated soils had additional rainy days. And as a result, mosquitoes have been out in droves.
Scientists are now realizing that animal and human activities during winter play a critical role in the persistence of West Nile virus.
West Nile virus emerged in the western hemisphere during the summer of 1999, reawakening public awareness to the potential severity of vector –borne pathogens.
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