Environmental and Ecological Statistics

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 293–311

Prospective spatial prediction of infectious disease: experience of New York State (USA) with West Nile Virus and proposed directions for improved surveillance


DOI: 10.1007/s10651-007-0057-5

Cite this article as:
Johnson, G.D. Environ Ecol Stat (2008) 15: 293. doi:10.1007/s10651-007-0057-5


Infectious disease surveillance has become an international top priority due to the perceived risk of bioterrorism. This is driving the improvement of real-time geo-spatial surveillance systems for monitoring disease indicators, which is expected to have many benefits beyond detecting a bioterror event. West Nile Virus surveillance in New York State (USA) is highlighted as a working system that uses dead American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) to prospectively indicate viral activity prior to human onset. A cross-disciplinary review is then presented to argue that this system, and infectious disease surveillance in general, can be improved by complementing spatial cluster detection of an outcome variable with predictive “risk mapping” that incorporates spatiotemporal data on the environment, climate and human population through the flexible class of generalized linear mixed models.


Generalized linear mixed models Geographic information systems Infectious disease Landscape ecology Prospective surveillance Remote sensing Spatial analysis West Nile virus 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Family HealthNew York State Department of HealthAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.School of Public HealthUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA