, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 461–467 | Cite as

Characteristics of Wind-Infective Farms of the 2006 Bluetongue Serotype 8 Epidemic in Northern Europe

Original Contribution


Bluetongue is a Culicoides-borne viral disease of livestock. In 2006, northern Europe experienced a major outbreak of this disease with devastating effects on the livestock industry. The outbreak quickly spread over the region, primarily affecting cattle and sheep. A previous analysis of the role of vector flight and wind in the spread of this virus across northern Europe indicated that infection at 1,326 (65%) of the reported infected farms could be traced back to just 599 (29%) farms (wind-infective farms). Rather than focusing on presence or absence of vectors or difference between infected and non-infected farms, we investigate the zoological and environmental characteristics of these 599 wind-infective farms (which can be thought of as super-spreaders) in order to characterize what makes them distinct from non-infective farms. Differences in temperature, precipitation, and the density of sheep at individual farms were identified between these two groups. These environmental and zoological factors are known to affect vector abundance and may have promoted bluetongue virus transmission. Identifying such ecological differences can help in the description and quantification of relative risk in affected areas.


bluetongue virus bootstrapped regression Culicoides ecological analysis wind-infective farms livestock super-spreaders 


  1. Alonso, D., Bouma, M.J., & Pascual, M. (2011) Epidemic Malaria and warmer temperatures in recent decades in an East African highland. Proceedings of the Royal Society - Biology278, 1661-1669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baylis, M., Parkin, H., Kreppel, K., Carpenter, S., Mellor, P.S. & McIntyre, K.M. (2010) Evaluation of housing as a means to protect cattle from Culicoides biting midges, the vectors of bluetongue virus. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 24, 38-45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Burgin, L.E., Gloster, J., Sanders, C., Mellor, P.S., Gubbins, S. & Carpenter, S. (2013) Investigating incursions of bluetongue virus using a model of long-distance Culicoides biting midge dispersal. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 60, 263-272.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Calvete, C., Estrada, R., Miranda, M.A., Borras, D., Calvo, J.H. & Lucientes, J. (2009) Ecological correlates of bluetongue virus in Spain: Predicted spatial occurrence and its relationship with the observed abundance of the potential Culicoides spp. vector. Veterinary Journal (London, England: 1997), 182, 235-243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carpenter S., Wilson A., Barber J., Veronesi E., Mellor P., Veter, G., & Gubbins, S. (2011) Temperature Dependence of the Extrinsic Incubation Period of Orbiviruses in Culicoides Biting Midges. PLoS ONE, 6(11): e27987.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027987 PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Carpenter, S., Wilson, A. & Mellor, P.S. (2009) Culicoides and the emergence of bluetongue virus in northern Europe. Trends in Microbiology, 17, 172-178.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Center for International Earth Science Information Network. (2005) Gridded Population of the World Version 3 (GPWv3), Palisades, NY, Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC).Google Scholar
  8. Dye, C. & Hasibeder, G. (1986) Population-dynamics of mosquito-borne disease - effects of flies which bite some people more frequently than others. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 80, 69-77.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Elbers, A.R., Backx, A., Mintiens, K., Gerbier, G., Staubach, C., Hendrickx, G. & van der Spek, A. (2008) Field observations during the bluetongue serotype 8 epidemic in 2006. II. Morbidity and mortality rate, case fatality and clinical recovery in sheep and cattle in the Netherlands. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 87, 31-40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Faes C., van der Stede Y., Guis H., Staubach C., Ducheyne E., Hendrickx G. & Mintiens, K. (2013) Factors affecting bluetongue serotype 8 spread in northern Europe in 2006: The geographical epidemiology. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 110(2):149-158. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.11.026.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Ganter M (2014) Bluetongue disease: Global overview and future risks. Small Ruminant Research; Special Issue: Keynote Lectures of the 8th International Sheep Veterinary Congress, 118:79–85.Google Scholar
  12. Gerbier, G., Baldet, T., Tran, A., Hendrickx, G., Guis, H., Mintiens, K., Elbers, A.R.W. & Staubach, C. (2008) Modelling local dispersal of bluetongue virus serotype 8 using random walk. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 87, 119-130.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Harrup, L.E., Gubbins, S., Barber, J., Denison, E., Mellor, P.S., Purse, B.V. & Carpenter, S. (2014) Does covering of farm-associated Culicoides larval habitat reduce adult populations in the United Kingdom? Veterinary Parasitology, 201, 137-145.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Hartemink, N.A., Purse, B.V., Meiswinkel, R., Brown, H.E., de Koeijer, A., Elbers, A.R., Boender, G.J., Rogers, D.J. & Heesterbeek, J.A. (2009) Mapping the basic reproduction number (R(0)) for vector-borne diseases: A case study on bluetongue virus. Epidemics, 1, 153-161.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hendrickx, G., Gilbert, M., Staubach, C., Elbers, A., Mintiens, K., Gerbier, G. & Ducheyne, E. (2008) A wind density model to quantify the airborne spread of Culicoides species during north-western Europe bluetongue epidemic, 2006. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 87, 162-181.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Hijmans, R.J., Cameron, S.E., Parra, J.L., Jones, P.G. & Jarvis, A. (2005) Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology, 25, 1965-1978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Macdonald, G. (1957) The Epidemiology and Control of Malaria, London, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Mayo, C.E., Osborne, C.J., Mullens, B.A., Gerry, A.C., Gardner, I.A., Reisen, W.K., Barker, C.M. & Maclachlan, N.J. (2014) Seasonal variation and impact of waste-water lagoons as larval habitat on the population dynamics of Culicoides sonorensis (diptera:Ceratpogonidae) at two dairy farms in northern California. PloS One, 9, e89633.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Mayo, C.E., Mullens, B.A., Gerry, A.C., Barker, C.M., Mertens, P.P., Maan, S., Maan, N., Gardner, I.A., Guthrie, A.J. & MacLachlan, N.J. (2012) The combination of abundance and infection rates of Culicoides sonorensis estimates risk of subsequent bluetongue virus infection of sentinel cattle on California dairy farms. Veterinary Parasitology, 187, 295-301.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Mellor, P.S., Boorman, J., & Baylis, M. (2000). Culicoides biting midges: Their role as arbovirus vectors. Annual Review of Entomology, 45, 307-340.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Mullens, B.A., Tabachnick, W.J., Holbrook, F.R. & Thompson, L.H. (1995) Effects of temperature on virogenesis of bluetongue virus serotype 11 in Culicoides variipennis sonorensis. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 9, 71-76.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Nelson, A. (2008) Estimated Travel Time to the Nearest City of 50,000 Or More People in Year 2000, Ispra, Global Environment Monitoring Unit - Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.Google Scholar
  23. Purse, B.V., Brown, H.E., Harrup, L., Mertens, P.P. & Rogers, D.J. (2008) Invasion of bluetongue and other orbivirus infections into Europe: The role of biological and climatic processes. Revue Scientifique Et Technique (International Office of Epizootics), 27, 427-442.Google Scholar
  24. Rebetez, M., Dupont, O. & Giroud, M. (2009) An analysis of the July 2006 heatwave extent in Europe compared to the record year of 2003. Theoretical and Applied Climatology. 95, 1-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Saegerman, C., Berkvens, D. & Mellor, P.S. (2008) Bluetongue epidemiology in the European Union. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 14, 539-544.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Scharlemann, J.P.W., Benz, D., Hay, S.I., Purse, B.V., Tatem, A.J., Wint, G.R.W. & Rogers, D.J. (2008) Global data for ecology and epidemiology: A novel algorithm for temporal Fourier processing MODIS data. PLoS ONE, 3, 1-13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sedda, L. & Rogers, D.J. (2013) The influence of the wind in the Schmallenberg virus outbreak in Europe. Scientific Reports, 3, 3361.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Sedda, L., Brown, H.E., Purse, B.V., Burgin, L., Gloster, J. & Rogers, D.J. (2012) A new algorithm quantifies the roles of wind and midge flight activity in the bluetongue epizootic in northwest Europe. Proceedings Biological Sciences/the Royal Society, 279, 2354-2362.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. van Doninck, J.; De Baets, B.; Peters, J.; Hendrickx, G.; Ducheyne, E.; Verhoest, N.E. (2014). Modelling the Spatial Distribution of Culicoides imicola: Climatic versus Remote Sensing Data. Remote Sensing. 6, 6604-6619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. van Velthuizen, H., Huddleston, B., Fischer, G., Salvatore, M., Ataman, E., Nachtergaele, F.O., Za, M. & Bloise, M. (2007) Mapping biophysical factors that influence agricultural production and rural vulnerability. Environment and Natural Resources Anonymous Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
  31. Velthuis, A.G., Saatkamp, H.W., Mourits, M.C., de Koeijer, A.A. & Elbers, A.R. (2010) Financial consequences of the Dutch bluetongue serotype 8 epidemics of 2006 and 2007. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 93, 294-304.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Wren, A. E. 1973. Trend Surface Analysis- A Review. Canadian Journal of Exploration Geophysics 9: 39-44.Google Scholar
  33. Wint, W. & Robinson, T.P. (2007) Gridded Livestock of the World 2007, Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography and EnvironmentUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine, MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public HealthImperial College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public HealthUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

Personalised recommendations