West Nile virus
) is the cause of the most widespread arthropod-borne viral disease in the world and the largest outbreak of neuroinvasive disease ever observed. Mosquito-borne outbreaks are influenced by intrinsic (e.g., vector and viral genetics, vector and host competence, vector life-history traits) and extrinsic (e.g., temperature, rainfall, human land use) factors that affect virus activity and mosquito biology in complex ways. The concept of vectorial capacity integrates these factors to address interactions of the virus with the arthropod host, leading to a clearer understanding of their complex interrelationships, how they affect transmission of vector-borne disease, and how they impact human health. Vertebrate factors including host competence, population dynamics, and immune status also affect transmission dynamics. The complexity of these interactions are further exacerbated by the fact that not only can divergent hosts differentially alter the virus, but the virus also can affect both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts in ways that significantly alter patterns of virus transmission. This chapter concentrates on selected components of the virus-vector-vertebrate interrelationship, focusing specifically on how interactions between vector, virus, and environment shape the patterns and intensity of WNV transmission.