Using species distribution models to predict potential hot-spots for Rift Valley Fever establishment in the United Kingdom

Autoři: Robin R. L. Simons aff001;  Simon Croft aff002;  Eleanor Rees aff001;  Oliver Tearne aff001;  Mark E. Arnold aff001;  Nicholas Johnson aff001
Působiště autorů: Animal and Plant Health Agency, New Haw, Surrey, United Kingdom aff001;  National Wildlife Management Centre, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Sand Hutton York, United Kingdom aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


Vector borne diseases are a continuing global threat to both human and animal health. The ability of vectors such as mosquitos to cover large distances and cross country borders undetected provide an ever-present threat of pathogen spread. Many diseases can infect multiple vector species, such that even if the climate is not hospitable for an invasive species, indigenous species may be susceptible and capable of transmission such that one incursion event could lead to disease establishment in these species. Here we present a consensus modelling methodology to estimate the habitat suitability for presence of mosquito species in the UK deemed competent for Rift Valley fever virus (RVF) and demonstrate its application in an assessment of the relative risk of establishment of RVF virus in the UK livestock population. The consensus model utilises observed UK mosquito surveillance data, along with climatic and geographic prediction variables, to inform six independent species distribution models; the results of which are combined to produce a single prediction map. As a livestock host is needed to transmit RVF, we then combine the consensus model output with existing maps of sheep and cattle density to predict the areas of the UK where disease is most likely to establish in local mosquito populations. The model results suggest areas of high suitability for RVF competent mosquito species across the length and breadth of the UK. Notable areas of high suitability were the South West of England and coastal areas of Wales, the latter of which was subsequently predicted to be at higher risk for establishment of RVF due to higher livestock densities. This study demonstrates the applicability of outputs of species distribution models to help predict hot-spots for risk of disease establishment. While there is still uncertainty associated with the outputs we believe that the predictions are an improvement on just using the raw presence points from a database alone. The outputs can also be used as part of a multidisciplinary approach to inform risk based disease surveillance activities.

Klíčová slova:

Europe – Invasive species – Livestock – Mosquitoes – Rift Valley fever virus – Sheep – Veterinary diseases – Rift Valley fever


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2019 Číslo 12
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