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Climate modelling for Chikungunya

Climate modelling for Chikungunya

From 05/2012 to 05/2014

Principal Investigator: Carl Beierkuhnlein
Staff: Dominik Fischer, Stephanie Thomas, Nils Tjaden

Chikungunya, a virus belonging to the genus Alphavirus, is spread by Aedes spp mosquitos and has re-emerged in Africa, south and southeastern Asia, and the Indian Ocean Islands in recent years (Felicity et al, 2011). The transmission of Chikungunya has also occurred in Europe, facilitated by the earlier introduction of A. albopictus in Europe and a genetic mutation of the Chikungunya virus (Randolph and Rogers 2010). Thus in 2007 A. albopictus mediated an outbreak of Chikungunya in Italy in 2007 (Rezza, Nicoletti et al. 2007) as well as in France in 2010 (Grandadam, Caro et al. 2011). Characterised by fever, headache, and rash, Chikugunya can cause severe morbidity and even fatality. Given its continued persistence globally and proven transmission potential in Europe, there is a need to further assess the public health risk to continental Europe from Chikungunya. Environmental changes may be particularly important for the risk of Chikungunya in Europe (Tilston, Skelly et al. 2009) .If, for example, this vector’s density, distribution range, and/or active season should increase as a consequence of climate change, then the risk of Chikungunya may also increase (Roiz, Neteler et al. 2011). This could be particularly the case where the seasonality of endemic Chikungunya infectious abroad matches the seasonal activity of A. albopictus in Europe (Charrel, de Lamballerie et al. 2008) Currently, A. albopictus is principally found in Mediterranean Europe. Recent models have suggested that the suitability for A. albopictus could increase in Central and Western Europe but decrease in southern Europe (Fischer et al. 2011) but little research has been conducted on the environmental and climatic conditions most suitable for Chikungunya transmission in Europe. The objective of this tender is to obtain a better understanding the importance of the climatic factors that lead to the risk of Chikungunya in continental Europe. This could be done by modelling the environmental suitability for Chikungunya transmission globally and in continental Europe, and determining which areas of Europe are currently most suitable for Chikungunya transmission. This modelling work could then be used as a basis for elucidating how anticipated climate changes could impact the risk of Chikgungunya the EU in 2035, 2050 and 2080.

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