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2025

2050

@ ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)

@ ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)

Projected future distribution of West Nile virus infections 0

500

1000 1500 km

pr N ed o ict io O n co uts ve id ra e ge

0.

<0 00 .00 4− 4 0. 0.0 02 2 −0 0. .06 06 −0 .5 >0 .5

Probability

Figure 3.4  Projected future distribution of West Nile virus infections. Source: EEA (2017a), adapted from Semenza et al. (2016b); based on July temperatures for medium–high climate change scenario. Further historical data available on https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/west-nile-fever/surveillance-and-disease-data/historical

2018a) indicate an early start to the transmission season in 2018 for West Nile virus infections in the EU (Italy, Greece, Hungary and Romania) and neighbouring countries (particularly Serbia), likely to be associated with the observed weather pattern of increased temperature and early spring season in south-eastern Europe. West Nile virus transmission is dependent on other variables such as bird migration, also affected by climate change. An estimate of future changes, forecasting expanding distribution, is summarised in Figure 3.4 to illustrate the magnitude of future dissemination that may be expected in southern and eastern parts of the region.

conditions within the next decades21. The distribution of Aedes aegypti (vector for chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever and zika) is currently restricted by intolerance to temperate winters but dissemination worldwide has increased during the past three decades. It could soon become established in the Mediterranean region and future climate change may result in northern expansion21. For chikungunya (A. albopictus and A. aegypti as vectors), modelling projections under RCP 4.5 and 8.5 climate change scenarios suggest moderate expansion in continental Europe, particularly France and Italy, and northwards expansion in the coming decades (Tjaden et al. 2017).

Broadly analogous changes in distribution might be anticipated for some other vectors and pathogens. The distribution of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes (a known vector for chikungunya, dengue and dirofilariasis) is expanding in Europe and is implicated in chikungunya virus transmission in Italy and France and in dengue transmission in France and Croatia. Populations have also been established in Slovenia, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Romania: projections suggest that Greece and Portugal will be likely habitats in the future and that western Europe will also provide favourable climactic

A European dengue outbreak, caused by changing urbanisation, globalisation and climate trends, occurred in Madeira in 2009, resulting in more than 2,000 local cases and 80 cases exported to continental Portugal (Lourenco and Recker 2014). Assessment of dengue epidemic potential using vectorial capacity on the basis of historical and projected temperatures indicates that vectorial capacity is currently sufficient for commencement of seasonal dengue outbreaks in southern Europe if sufficient populations of A. aegypti or A. albopictus were active and the virus introduced

21 

ECDC mosquito factsheets are on http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/disease-vectors/facts/mosquito-factsheets/.

EASAC

Climate change and health  |  June 2019  |  19

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