Assessment of the risk of a bluetongue outbreak in Europe

Researchers of CReSA studied the risk of a bluetongue outbreak in Europe caused by Culicoides midges introduced through intracontinental transport and trade networks.

During the recent BTV serotype 8 (BTV-8) epidemic in northern Europe, the importation of infected hosts and the arrival of windborne infected Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) were considered unlikely mechanisms for bluetongue virus (BTV) incursion into a BTV-free area. Therefore, alternative mechanisms need to be considered.

Air, sea and land transport networks continue to expand, and an important consequence of this is vector-borne pathogen importation. One important aspect of bluetongue (BT) epidemiology not yet addressed is the potential movement of infected Culicoides via transport and trade networks. Therefore, a risk assessment model was constructed to assess the probability of a BTV outbreak as a consequence of the introduction of Culicoides via these networks. The model was applied to calculate the risk for a BTV-8 epidemic in Spain in 2007 caused by the introduction of Culicoides from affected northern European countries.

The annual weighted mean risk for an outbreak caused by transportation of a single vector from an affected northern European country varied from 1.8 × 10-7 a 3.0 × 10-13, with the highest risks associated with Culicoides imported from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France. For this mechanism to pose a significant risk to BTV-free countries, a large number of vectors would have to be transported.

This work has been recently published in: Napp S, García-Bocanegra I, Pagès N, Allepuz A, Alba A, Casal J. Assessment of the risk of a bluetongue outbreak in Europe caused by Culicoides midges introduced through intracontinental transport and trade networks. Med Vet Entomol. 2013 Mar;27(1):19-28.

To contact the author of the paper:

Sebastian Napp Avelli
Researcher of the Veterinary epidemiology and risk analysis research line
Email: Sebastian.napp@cresa.uab.cat
Phone no.: +34 93 581 45 57
Fax: +34 93 581 44 90
Edifici CReSA. Campus UAB
08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona) Spain

Download the full paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23106144

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