Global risk model for vector-borne transmission of Zika virus reveals the role of El Nino 2015


Caminade C, Turner J, Metelmann S, Hesson JC, Blagrove MSC, Solomon T, Morse AP, Baylis M


Zika, a mosquito-borne viral disease that emerged in South America in 2015, was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO in February of 2016. We developed a climate-driven R0 mathematical model for the transmission risk of Zika virus (ZIKV) that explicitly includes two key mosquito vector species: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The model was parameterized and calibrated using the most up to date information from the available literature. It was then driven by observed gridded temperature and rainfall datasets for the period 1950–2015. We find that the transmission risk in South America in 2015 was the highest since 1950. This maximum is related to favoring temperature conditions that caused the simulated biting rates to be largest and mosquito mortality rates and extrinsic incubation periods to be smallest in 2015. This event followed the suspected introduction of ZIKV in Brazil in 2013. The ZIKV outbreak in Latin America has very likely been fueled by the 2015–2016 El Niño climate phenomenon affecting the region. The highest transmission risk globally is in South America and tropical countries where Ae. aegypti is abundant. Transmission risk is strongly seasonal in temperate regions where Ae. albopictus is present, with significant risk of ZIKV transmission in the southeastern states of the United States, in southern China, and to a lesser extent, over southern Europe during the boreal summer season.


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences




Research Themes:

Clinical Surveillance, Vector Biology & Climate Modelling