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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Feb;3(2):171-81.

Climate change and the recent emergence of bluetongue in Europe.

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  • 1Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright, UK.

Erratum in

  • Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Feb;4(2):160.


Bluetongue, a devastating disease of ruminants, has historically made only brief, sporadic incursions into the fringes of Europe. However, since 1998, six strains of bluetongue virus have spread across 12 countries and 800 km further north in Europe than has previously been reported. We suggest that this spread has been driven by recent changes in European climate that have allowed increased virus persistence during winter, the northward expansion of Culicoides imicola, the main bluetongue virus vector, and, beyond this vector's range, transmission by indigenous European Culicoides species - thereby expanding the risk of transmission over larger geographical regions. Understanding this sequence of events may help us predict the emergence of other vector-borne pathogens.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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