Quantifying the wind dispersal of Culicoides species in Greece and Bulgaria

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E. Ducheyne
R. De Deken
S. Bécu
B. Codina
K. Nomikou
O. Mangana-Vougiaki
G. Georgiev
B.V. Purse
G. Hendrickx *
(*) Corresponding Author:
G. Hendrickx | ghendrickx@avia-gis.be


This paper tests the hypothesis that Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) species can be propagated by wind over long distances. Movement patterns of midges were inferred indirectly from patterns of the spread of bluetongue outbreaks between farms (using outbreak data from 1999-2001 for Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey) and then matched to concurrent wind patterns. The general methodology was to determine wind trajectories to and from each outbreak site based on the horizontal and vertical wind components of the European ReAnalysis-40 (ERA-40) dataset from the European centre for medium-range weather forecast (ECMWF). Forward trajectories (downwind or where the windvectors pointed to) and backward trajectories (upwind or where the wind-vectors originated from) were calculated for each outbreak for the period from one week before to one week after it had been recorded. These wind trajectories were then compared with the general outbreak patterns taking into consideration the different serotypes involved. It was found that the wind trajectories could be matched to the temporal distribution of the outbreak cases. Furthermore, the spread of the infected vector via the calculated wind trajectories was corroborated by molecular evidence. The conclusion is that the methodology presented is appropriate for quantifying the risk of spread of infected Culicoides midges by wind and that this approach could form an important component of a regional early-warning system for bluetongue.

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