Bluetongue risk under future climates

Jones, A.E. and Turner, J. and Caminade, C. and Heath, A.E. and Wardeh, M. and Kluiters, G. and Diggle, P.J. and Morse, A.P. and Baylis, M. (2019) Bluetongue risk under future climates. Nature Climate Change, 9. 153–157. ISSN 1758-678X

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There is concern that climate change will lead to expansion of vector-borne diseases as, of all disease types, they are the most sensitive to climate drivers1. Such expansion may threaten human health, and food security via effects on animal and crop health. Here we quantify the potential impact of climate change on a vector-borne disease of livestock, bluetongue, which has emerged in northern Europe in response to climate change2–4, affecting tens of thousands of farms at huge financial cost and causing the deaths of millions of animals5. We derive future disease risk trends for northern Europe, and use a detailed spatial transmission model6 to simulate outbreaks in England and Wales under future climatic conditions, using an ensemble of five downscaled general circulation models7. By 2100, bluetongue risk extends further north, the transmission season lengthens by up to three months and outbreaks are larger on average. A 1 in 20-year outbreak at present-day temperatures becomes typical by the 2070s under the highest greenhouse gas emission scenario. However, animal movement restrictions are sufficient to prevent truly devastating outbreaks. Disease transmission uncertainty dominates over climate uncertainty, even at the longest prediction timescales. Our results suggest that efficient detection and control measures to limit the spread of vector-borne diseases will be increasingly vital in future, warmer climates. © 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

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Journal Article
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Nature Climate Change
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04 Feb 2019 14:35
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 00:51