Mosquitos are one of the most common vectors of disease. They can transmit bacteria, viruses and parasites, which can cause malaria, dengue hemorrhagic fever, and West Nile fever, to name a few. It is estimated that more than 700 million people worldwide acquire a mosquito-borne disease each year, causing over 1 million deaths.
A researcher from the University of North Texas (UNT) is currently working on an advanced engineering study that aims to understand how the weather affects mosquito population in a given environment. This knowledge, coupled with a predictive model may help urban areas better address the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
Aditya Vaidya is a 16-year-old freshman at the university’s Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) program. Through this two-year residential program, exceptionally promising high school students can complete their freshman and sophomore college requirements as well as earn their high school diploma. At the end of the program, the students will have the option to continue their course in UNT or transfer to another college.
On September 23, 2014, Vaidya will be presenting his study at the Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Health Informatics in Newport Beach, California.
Vaidya’s interest in epidemiologic research began even before his acceptance to UNT’s TAMS program. He has worked closely with Armin R. Mikler, a university professor of Computer Science and Engineering, in the creation of a digital model that can take weather and climate change information, and use it to predict potential mosquito population growth.
In other news on mosquito-borne diseases in the US, BioNews Texas reported early in July that the first case of chikungunya in the state of Texas has been confirmed in a Williamson County resident who had just come home from a vacation in the Caribbean.