Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Cooke, William H.

Committee Member

Rodgers III, John C.

Committee Member

Mylroie, John E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


West Nile virus has become a major risk to humans since its first appearance in New York City in 1999. Physicians and state health officials are interested in new and more efficient methods for monitoring disease spread and predicting future outbreaks. This study modeled habitat suitability for mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus. Habitat characteristics were used to derive risk maps for the entire state of Mississippi. Statistical significance tests yielded objective evidence for choosing among many habitat variables. Variables that were significantly correlated with diagnosed human cases for 2002 were combined in weighted linear algebraic models using a geographic information system (GIS). Road density, slope, and summer precipitation minus evaporation (P-E) were the most significant variables. GIS-based model results were compared with results from logistic regression models. The algebraic model was preferred when validated by 2003 human cases. If adopted, GIS-based risk models can help guide mosquito control efforts.