Influence of warming tendency on Culex pipiens population abundance and on the probability of West Nile fever outbreaks (Israeli case study: 2001-2005)

Shlomit Paz, Iris Albersheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate change and West Nile fever (WNV) are both subjects of global importance. Many mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, including West Nile virus (WNV), are sensitive to temperature increase. The current study analyzes the lag correlations between weather conditions (especially air temperature) and 1) Culex pipiens mosquito population abundance, and 2) WNF frequency in humans, between 2001 and 2005 in Israel. These 5 years follow a long period with a documented tendency for temperature increase in the hot season in the country. Monthly anomalies of minimum and maximum temperatures, relative seasonal rainfall contribution, mosquito samplings (hazard level), and WNF cases (hospital admission dates and patients' addresses) were analyzed. Logistic regression was calculated between the climatic data and the mosquito samples, as Spearman correlations and Pearson cross-correlations were calculated between daily temperature values (or daily precipitation amounts) and the hospital admission dates. It was found that the disease appearance reflects the population distribution, while the risk tends to escalate around the metropolis characterized by an urban heat island. Positive anomalies of the temperature during the study period appear to have facilitated the mosquito abundance and, consequently, the disease emergence in humans. An important finding is the potential influence of extreme heat in the early spring on the vector population increase and on the disease's appearance weeks later. Awareness of such situations at the beginning of the spring may help authorities to reduce the disease risk before it becomes a real danger.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection for funding this project. Thanks are also due to Dr. D. Gandacu from the Department of Epidemiology, Israeli Ministry of Health, for his kind help with the WNF database. The authors thank Alon Haluzi and Noga Yoselevich from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, for their help with preparing the final figures.


  • Climate change
  • Culex pipiens
  • Mosquitoes
  • West Nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Ecology


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