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Trends Microbiol. 2009 Apr;17(4):172-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2009.01.001. Epub 2009 Mar 18.

Culicoides and the emergence of bluetongue virus in northern Europe.

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Vector-Borne Diseases Programme, Institute for Animal Health, Woking, Surrey, GU24 0BN, UK.


In June 2006, bluetongue virus, an arboviral pathogen of ruminants, appeared in northern Europe for the first time, successfully overwintered and subsequently caused substantial losses to the farming sector in 2007 and 2008. This emergence served as a test of how the probability of arboviral incursion into new regions is assessed and has highlighted the reliance of decision making on paradigms that are not always underpinned by basic biological data. In this review, we highlight those areas of the epidemiology of bluetongue that are poorly understood, reflect upon why certain vital areas of research have received little attention and, finally, examine strategies that could aid future risk assessment and intervention.

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