Biting midge dynamics and bluetongue transmission: a multiscale model linking catch data with climate and disease outbreaks

Tim W.R. Möhlmann, Matt J. Keeling, Uno Wennergren, Guido Favia, Inge Santman-Berends, Willem Takken, Constantianus J.M. Koenraadt, Samuel P.C. Brand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Bluetongue virus (BTV) serotype 8 has been circulating in Europe since a major outbreak occurred in 2006, causing economic losses to livestock farms. The unpredictability of the biting activity of midges that transmit BTV implies difficulty in computing accurate transmission models. This study uniquely integrates field collections of midges at a range of European latitudes (in Sweden, The Netherlands, and Italy), with a multi-scale modelling approach. We inferred the environmental factors that influence the dynamics of midge catching, and then directly linked predicted midge catches to BTV transmission dynamics. Catch predictions were linked to the observed prevalence amongst sentinel cattle during the 2007 BTV outbreak in The Netherlands using a dynamic transmission model. We were able to directly infer a scaling parameter between daily midge catch predictions and the true biting rate per cow per day. Compared to biting rate per cow per day the scaling parameter was around 50% of 24 h midge catches with traps. Extending the estimated biting rate across Europe, for different seasons and years, indicated that whilst intensity of transmission is expected to vary widely from herd to herd, around 95% of naïve herds in western Europe have been at risk of sustained transmission over the last 15 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1892
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021

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