U of I researchers will lead the study, which will try to determine why West Nile spread so quickly in 2002. Illinois led the nation that year with more than 800 human cases and 66 deaths.
U of I epidemiologist Uriel Kitron says researchers hope to explain what happened during the outbreak and also make predictions about where it might happen again.
Michigan State University and the Audubon Society will also participate in the study. It will be paid for with a $1.18 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.