Assessing the Influence of Climate on the Spatial Pattern of West Nile Virus Incidence in the United States

Morgan E. Gorris*, James T. Randerson, Shane R. Coffield, Kathleen K. Treseder, Charles S. Zender,

Chonggang Xu, and Carrie A. Manore


Environmental Health Perspectives 2023. Vol. 131, No 4.

*Author email:

Summary [by Vector and Vector-borne Disease committee]: Using human case report data from 2005 to 2019 and seasonally averaged climate variables, the authors developed a predictive module to estimate mean annual WNV incidence. They found that regions with dry and cold winters and wet and mild summers have higher WNV incidence rates. Among the climate variables considered, winter precipitation, fall precipitation, and winter temperature were the three most important predictive variables. The authors believe this model may be a tool to predict the future spatial extent of WNV risk related to climate change. They acknowledged that subregional patterns of WNV are likely to be strongly influenced by a series of environmental variables such as land use, vegetation coverage, and hydrology. Dry agriculture landscapes that require significant irrigation also will influence patterns of WNV incidence.