The importation of infected hosts and the arrival of windborne infected Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) were considered unlikely mechanisms for bluetongue virus (BTV) incursion into a BTV-free area during the recent BTV serotype 8 (BTV-8) epidemic in northern Europe. Therefore, alternative mechanisms need to be considered. Air, sea and land transport networks continue to expand, and an important consequence of this is vector-borne pathogen importation. One important aspect of bluetongue (BT) epidemiology not yet addressed is the potential movement of infected Culicoides via transport and trade networks. Therefore, a risk assessment model was constructed to assess the probability of a BTV outbreak as a consequence of the introduction of Culicoides via these networks. The model was applied to calculate the risk for a BTV-8 epidemic in Spain in 2007 caused by the introduction of Culicoides from affected northern European countries. The mean weighted annual risk for an outbreak caused by transportation of a single vector from an affected northern European country varied from 1.8 × 10-7 to 3.0 × 10-13, with the highest risks associated with Culicoides imported from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France. For this mechanism to pose a significant risk to BTV-free countries, a large number of vectors would have to be transported. © 2012 The Authors. Medical and Veterinary Entomology © 2012 The Royal Entomological Society.
- Stochastic models
- Transport and trade networks