West Nile virus outbreaks in Europe could be predicted a year in advance

West Nile virus

The areas most likely to experience West Nile virus outbreaks are identified in Europe, where river basins play an important role in its spread.


The journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases has just published the article entitled “Predicting the spatio-temporal spread of West Nile virus in Europe“, in which researchers from the University of Malaga (Department of Animal Biology) together with the International Vaccination Center of Malaga (Ministerio de Sanidad, Consumo y Bienestar Social) have collaborated to prepare predictive risk maps for the disease.

Knowing the environmental and human variables that characterize the favorable areas of incidence of the West Nile virus, a flavivirus that is transmitted by mosquitoes from birds to humans, allows predicting areas of future outbreaks, one year in advance, also detecting the intensity thereof. Researchers highlight the importance of hydrography in the incidence and spread of the disease. The rivers, related to the presence and proliferation of mosquitoes, contributed to explain the outbreaks of the virus in humans. Similarly, the hydrographic basins explained their spread within the river basin itself from the lower to the higher areas.

Consequently, early warning must be based on a watershed scale in order to anticipate the possible incidence of the disease. This would allow the adoption of specific preventive measures in risk areas such as; early fumigation, alert the population to take measures to avoid bites or control water points where mosquitoes breed. It would also make it possible to alert health centers about the possible incidence of the disease in the area, helping early diagnosis and improving prognosis.


Link to this news in the UMA website: https://www.uma.es/sala-de-prensa/noticias/desarrollan-mapas-de-riesgo-que-podrian-predecir-la-expansion-del-virus-del-nilo-en-europa-con-un-ano-de-antelacion/

Link to the whole article in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0009022

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