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Vet Microbiol. 2003 Dec 2;97(1-2):13-29.

Prediction of bluetongue vector distribution in Europe and north Africa using satellite imagery.

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TALA Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK.


Bluetongue is an infectious, non-contagious arboviral disease thought to infect all known ruminant species. Since 1998, an unprecedented epizootic of the disease has occurred in the Mediterranean region, resulting in the deaths of over 800,000 sheep to date. Bluetongue virus (BTV) is transmitted by biting midges of which one species, Culicoides imicola, is the major vector in the old world. C. imicola was trapped for 2 years at 87 sites across Portugal and models were developed for predicting the presence and abundance of the midge at these sites. Discriminant analysis was used to identify the best models from 40 temporally Fourier-processed 1 km spatial resolution remotely-sensed variables. The best models correctly predicted presence and absence at 83 of the 87 sites, and abundance at 76 sites. The models were then used to predict C. imicola presence and abundance elsewhere across Europe and north Africa. C. imicola was predicted to be present and in high abundance at the majority of areas affected in the recent bluetongue epizootic, including the Balearics, Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, areas of mainland Italy, large areas of Greece, western Turkey and northern Algeria and Tunisia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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