Nav: Home

Southern Europe risks Zika outbreaks this summer

June 10, 2016

Established Aedes-mosquito population could spread the Zika virus in Europe this summer if infected travelers introduce the virus. An analysis of temperatures, vectorial capacity, basic reproductive number (R0), and air traveler flows suggests parts of Southern Europe may be at risk for Zika outbreaks between June and August. This according to a study, led by Umeå University researchers in Sweden and published in the journal EBioMedicine.

"We know warm climates create the kind of conditions suitable for mosquito-borne illnesses to spread," says Joacim Rocklöv, researcher at Umeå University's Unit for Epidemiology and Global Health and co-author of the article.

"Vectorial capacity depends on a number of parameters but in general, warmer temperatures increase the rate in which the female mosquitos bite, the mosquito virus reproduction, and their virus transmission risk. The presence of established Aedes mosquito populations, the warmer climate and the coinciding peak flow of air travelers into Europe, is a triage making Southern Europe fertile ground for Zika."

Following a similar epidemiological study conducted on the similar dengue virus, the group of researchers led by Joacim Rocklöv at Umeå University, used a temperature dependent computer model to predict Zika virus infection risks for Europe. The research exploration was undertaken in close collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In the analysis, the researchers overlaid data on monthly flows of airline travelers arriving in European cities from Zika-affected areas, data on month-by-month estimates of virus infection reproduction capabilities of Aedes-mosquito populations in Europe, and human population data within the areas where mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus could be possible.

The main findings, presented in EBioMedicine, a journal initiative integrating the Lancet and Cell, are:
  • The risk of mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus is estimated to peak between June and August in parts of Southern Europe (see map)
  • The peak flow of air travelers from regions of the Americas affected by the Zika virus coincides with the peak in the Aedes-mosquitos capacity to transmit the virus.
  • The findings could help European public health officials to identify locations and times where the risk for Zika is heightened.


The risk assessment assumes that European Aedes-mosquitos have the same potential to spread the Zika virus as their South-, Middle- and North American counterparts.

Earlier research has shown that increasing temperatures will enlarge Europe's seasonal window for the potential spread of mosquito-borne viral disease and expand the geographic areas at risk for epidemics to include large parts of Europe. The threat includes tropical and sub-tropical viruses such as Zika and Dengue.

The Aedes mosquitos -- Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus -- are largely responsible for the transmission of the Zika virus. Both Aedes mosquitos are likely to become a fixture in Europe. Historically, Aedes mosquitos were present in many European countries during the first half of the 1900s. Aedes aegypti has recently been documented in Russia and Georgia. And current surveillance indicate that Aedes albopictus are present in much of Southern Europe and as far north as the Netherlands.
-end-
Read a digital publication of the article in EBioMedicine

Read a similar report from Umeå University

Umeå University is Sweden's fifth oldest university located in the mid-northern region of Sweden surrounded by tranquility and fresh air and still close to knowledge, expertise and ground-breaking research. The University has approximately 32,000 registered students and more than 4,200 employees. Read more at http://www.umu.se

Umea University

Related Zika Virus Articles:

Zika virus successfully diagnosed from semen
Research presented at ASM Microbe 2017 by experts at the Fertility and Cryogenics Lab shows a reliable clinical assay that can detect the Zika virus from semen samples.
New insights into how the Zika virus causes microcephaly
Scientists have uncovered why Zika virus may specifically target neural stem cells in the developing brain, potentially leading to microcephaly.
Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus could simultaneously transmit other viruses
A new study led by Colorado State University found that Aedes aegypti, the primary mosquito that carries Zika virus, might also transmit chikungunya and dengue viruses with one bite.
New Zika virus inhibitor identified
Compound could serve as basis for drugs to prevent neurological complications of Zika.
Researchers identify potential Zika virus target
New research provides insights into why infection with Zika virus after birth generally causes only mild symptoms, whereas devastating fetal malformations can develop when infection occurs during pregnancy.
Zika virus could cost United States billions of dollars
As United States policymakers debate how to devote money and resources to the Zika virus outbreak, understanding the potential economic impact of the virus in the US is key.
A speedy, sensitive, and low-cost detection test for Zika virus
A fast, highly sensitive, and inexpensive new test not only detects Zika virus in mosquitoes and human bodily fluids, but can also distinguish between African and Asian strains -- a result that could improve efforts to more effectively track the virus' spread.
Study demonstrates how Zika virus rewires and repurposes invaded cells
New research reveals a high-resolution view of the Zika viral life cycle within infected cells and shows dramatic changes in the cell's architecture throughout the infection process.
Zika virus protein mapped to speed search for cure
A study published today reports that a team led by Indiana University scientists has mapped a key protein that causes the Zika virus to reproduce and spread.
Research addresses the threat of Zika virus to the US blood supply
Investigators have shown that certain screening methods that detect the genetic material of Zika virus can be used to ensure that donated blood supplies remain free of the virus.

Related Zika Virus Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...