Feb 19, 2016

An ecological assessment of the pandemic threat of Zika virus

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Colin CarlsonWayne Getz


The current outbreak of Zika virus poses a threat of unknown magnitude to human health. While the range of the virus has been cataloged growing slowly over the last 50 years, the recent explosive expansion in the Americas indicates that the full potential distribution of Zika remains uncertain. Moreover, most current epidemiology relies on its similarities to dengue fever, a phylogenetically closely related disease of unknown similarity in spatial range or ecological niche. Here we compile the first spatially explicit global occurrence dataset from Zika viral surveillance and serological surveys, and construct ecological niche models to test basic hypotheses about its spread and potential establishment. The hypothesis that the outbreak of cases in Mexico and North America are anomalous and outside the ecological niche of the disease, and may be linked to El Nino or similar climatic events, remains plausible at this time. Comparison of the Zika niche against the known distribution of dengue fever suggests that Zika is more constrained by the seasonality of precipitation and diurnal temperature fluctuations, likely confining the disease to the tropics outside of pandemic scenarios. Projecting the range of the diseases in conjunct...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Dengue Fever
Spatial Distribution
Cell Growth
Genetic Vectors
Disease Transmission
Aedes aegypti
Aedes albopictus

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