Veterinary Research Communications

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 273–283 | Cite as

Climatic factors associated with the infection of herds of cattle with bluetongue viruses

  • M. P. Ward


The incidence of bluetongue virus infection of 15 cattle herds in Queensland, Australia, was determined by a serum neutralization test. The maximum temperature (°C), minimum temperature (°C) and rainfall (mm) data were obtained from the meteorological recording stations closest to each herd. Using unweighted least-squares regression analysis, the best statistical model explaining the most variability in the herd incidence rate included the ratio between the maximum and minimum temperature recorded at both 1 month and 6 months preceding seroconversion, and rainfall recorded at both 2 months and 6 months preceding seroconversion. More than 90% of the variability in the incidence of bluetongue virus infection in the herds was explained by the model, a considerable improvement on previous models that used prevalence data. The prospective nature of the study also supports a strong causal relationship between climatic factors and the occurrence of infection in cattle herds.


Australia bluetongue cattle climate epidemiology incidence regression analysis 



serum neutralization


adjusted coefficient of multiple determination


Akaike's information criterion


Akaike's final prediction error


predicted sum of squares


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Della-Porta, A.J., Sellers, R.F., Herniman, K.A.J., Littlejohns, I.R., Cybinski, D.H., St George, T.D., McPhee, D.A., Snowdon, W.A., Campbell, J., Cargill, C., Corbould, A., Chung, Y.S. and Smith, V.M., 1983. Serological studies of Australian and Papua New Guinea cattle and Australian sheep for the presence of antibodies against bluetongue group viruses. Veterinary Microbiology, 8, 147–162Google Scholar
  2. Homan, E.J., Mo, C.L., Thompson, L.H., Barreto, C.H., Oviedo, M.-T., Gibbs, E.P.J. and Greiner, E.C., 1990. Epidemiologic study of bluetongue viruses in central America and the Caribbean: 1986–1988. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 51, 1089–1094Google Scholar
  3. Murray, M.D., 1975. Potential vectors of bluetongue in Australia. Australian Veterinary Journal, 51, 216–220Google Scholar
  4. Neter, J., Wasserman, W. and Kutnet, M.H., 1990. Applied Linear Statistical Models-Regression, Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design, 3rd edn, (Irwin, Boston)Google Scholar
  5. Nevill, E.M., 1971. Cattle and Culicoides biting midges as possible overwintering hosts of bluetongue virus. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 38, 65–71Google Scholar
  6. Seddon, H.R., 1938. The spread of ephemeral fever (three-day sickness) in Australia in 1936–37. Australian Veterinary Journal, 14, 90–101Google Scholar
  7. Sellers, R.F., 1980. Weather, host and vector-their interplay in the spread of insect-borne animal virus diseases. Journal of Hygiene, Cambridge, 85, 65–102Google Scholar
  8. Sellers, R.F., Gibbs, E.P.J., Herniman, K.A.J., Pedgley, D.E. and Tucker, M.R., 1979. Possible origin of the bluetongue epidemic in Cyprus, August 1977. Journal of Hygiene, Cambridge, 83, 547–555Google Scholar
  9. Shumway, R.H., 1988. Applied Statistical Time Series Analysis. (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ)Google Scholar
  10. Standfast, H.A. and Dyce, A.L., 1972. Arthropods biting cattle during an epizootic of ephemeral fever in 1968. Australian Veterinary Journal, 48, 77–80Google Scholar
  11. Standfast, H.A. and Muller, M.J., 1989. Bluetongue in Australia—an entomologist's view. Australian Veterinary Journal, 66, 396–397Google Scholar
  12. Stevens, J., 1992. Applied Multivariate Statistics for the Social Sciences, 2nd edn, (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ)Google Scholar
  13. Walker, A.R. and Davies, F.G., 1971. A preliminary survey of the epidemiology of bluetongue in Kenya. Journal of Hygiene, Cambridge, 69, 47–60Google Scholar
  14. Ward, M.P., 1994a. The epidemiology of bluetongue virus in Australia—a review. Australian Veterinary Journal, 71, 3–7Google Scholar
  15. Ward, M.P., 1994b. Climatic factors associated with the prevalence of bluetongue virus infection of cattle herds in Queensland, Australia. The Veterinary Record, 134, 407–410Google Scholar
  16. Ward, M.P., 1994c. The use of discriminant analysis in predicting the distribution of bluetongue virus in Queensland, Australia. Veterinary Research Communications, 18, 63–72Google Scholar
  17. Ward, M.P., Flanagan, M., Carpenter, T.E., Hird, D.W., Thurmond, M.C., Johnson, S.J. and Dashorst, M.E., 1995. Infection of cattle with bluetongue viruses in Queensland, Australia: results of a sentinel herd study, 1990–1992. Veterinary Microbiology, 45, 35–44Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers bv 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. P. Ward
    • 1
  1. 1.Queensland Department of Primary IndustriesToowombaAustralia

Personalised recommendations