, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 293-311
Date: 28 Feb 2008

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

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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.