Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Thomas Loveland


Mosquitoes are the vector for more human illness than any other. West Nile, or flavivirus, arrived in South Dakota during the summer of 2002 as it diffused from its eastern seaboard point of arrival at New York. West Nile causes bird disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Humans, horses and other mammals may also be infected. In humans the most serious manifestation of West Nile infection is encephalitis. During the summer of 2003 South Dakota had the third highest number of infections for both humans and animals. The Cul ex tarsalis mosquito receives the virus from feeding on infected animals and in turn infecting birds, mammals, and humans during later blood feeding. During the 2003 season 1,041 South Dakotans were diagnosed positive with West Nile; 14 of these died. The results from this investigation discovered a correlation between average monthly temperature and human West Nile Virus incidences. The model suggests that a decrease in average temperature is related to an increase in human cases - a somewhat surprising result. A small correlation in land cover was also found to influence the incidence of human cases, but to a lesser degree than temperature. Key words: land cover, climate, remote sensing, West Nile Virus.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

West Nile virus -- South Dakota.
South Dakota -- Climate.
Vegetation and climate -- South Dakota.
Mosquitoes as carriers of disease.


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright