Impact of climate change on risk of incursion of Crimian-Congo haemorrhagic fever in Livestock in Europe through migratory birds

Gale, P.; Stevenson, R.B.; Brouwer, A.; Martinez, M.; Torre, A. de la; Munoz, M.J.; Bosch, J.; Foley-Fisher, M.; Bonilauri, P.; Lindstrom, A.; Ulrich, R.G.; Vos, C.J. de; Scremin, M.; Liu, Z.


Aims: To predict the risk of incursion of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) in livestock in Europe introduced through immature Hyalomma marginatum ticks on migratory birds under current conditions and in the decade 2075–2084 under a climate-change scenario. Methods and Results: A spatial risk map of Europe comprising 14 282 grid cells (25 × 25 km) was constructed using three data sources: (i) ranges and abundances of four species of bird which migrate from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe each spring, namely Willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), Northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), Tree pipit (Anthus trivialis) and Common quail (Coturnix coturnix); (ii) UK Met Office HadRM3 spring temperatures for prediction of moulting success of immature H. marginatum ticks and (iii) livestock densities. On average, the number of grid cells in Europe predicted to have at least one CCHFV incursion in livestock in spring was 1·04 per year for the decade 2005–2014 and 1·03 per year for the decade 2075–2084. In general with the assumed climate-change scenario, the risk increased in northern Europe but decreased in central and southern Europe, although there is considerable local variation in the trends. Conclusions: The absolute risk of incursion of CCHFV in livestock through ticks introduced by four abundant species of migratory bird (totalling 120 million individual birds) is very low. Climate change has opposing effects, increasing the success of the moult of the nymphal ticks into adults but decreasing the projected abundance of birds by 34% in this model. Significance and Impact of the Study: For Europe, climate change is not predicted to increase the overall risk of incursion of CCHFV in livestock through infected ticks introduced by these four migratory bird species.