Assessing the risks of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes from transatlantic aircraft: Implications for disease emergence in the United Kingdom

Eleanor B.E. Brown, Amie Adkin, Anthony R. Fooks, Ben Stephenson, Jolyon Medlock, Emma L. Snary*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The number of West Nile virus (WNV)-infected mosquitoes aboard aircraft from the United States that arrive in the United Kingdom each summer was determined using a quantitative risk assessment. In the worst-case scenario, when WNV levels in mosquitoes are high (at epidemic levels) the probability of at least one WNV-infected mosquito being introduced into the United Kingdom was predicted to be 0.99. During these periods, a mean of 5.2 infected mosquitoes were estimated to be aboard flights from the United States to the United Kingdom during May to October, with 90% certainty that the exact value lies between one and ten mosquitoes. Heathrow airport was predicted to receive the majority of the infected mosquitoes (72.1%). Spatial analysis revealed the region surrounding Heathrow satisfies the criteria for potential WNV exposure as both WNV-competent mosquitoes and susceptible wild bird species are present. This region is, therefore, recommended for targeted, risk-based surveillance of WNV-infected mosquitoes in addition to an increased awareness of the risks to horses, birds and humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-320
Number of pages11
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Arbovirus(es)
  • GIS
  • Mosquito(es)
  • Risk analysis
  • West Nile virus

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