Environmental drivers of West Nile fever epidemiology in Europe and Western Asia--a review

Shlomit Paz, Jan C. Semenza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abiotic and biotic conditions are both important determinants of West Nile Fever (WNF) epidemiology. Ambient temperature plays an important role in the growth rates of vector populations, the interval between blood meals, viral replication rates and transmission of West Nile Virus (WNV). The contribution of precipitation is more complex and less well understood. In this paper we discuss impacts of climatic parameters (temperature, relative humidity, precipitation) and other environmental drivers (such as bird migration, land use) on WNV transmission in Europe. WNV recently became established in southeastern Europe, with a large outbreak in the summer of 2010 and recurrent outbreaks in 2011 and 2012. Abundant competent mosquito vectors, bridge vectors, infected (viremic) migrating and local (amplifying) birds are all important characteristics of WNV transmission. In addition, certain key climatic factors, such as increased ambient temperatures, and by extension climate change, may also favor WNF transmission, and they should be taken into account when evaluating the risk of disease spread in the coming years. Monitoring epidemic precursors of WNF, such as significant temperature deviations in high risk areas, could be used to trigger vector control programs and public education campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3543-3562
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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