Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Bird Species - Less West Nile Cases

Here's proof that biodiversity is good for your health: Having more bird species present in a given area reduces the incidence of West Nile virus infection in humans.

That's the finding of a new study analyzing every U.S. county east of the Mississippi River where human cases of West Nile virus infection have been documented, and comparing each with a neighboring county where human West Nile cases have not been reported.

Applying statistical analysis while controlling for socioeconomic factors and how urbanized each county is, John Swaddle and Stavros Calos at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., found that bird diversity and other factors related to the bird population could explain 50 percent of the variation in West Nile cases. "We were surprised by how high it was," Swaddle said.

Read the entire article.

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