Skip to main content

Identification of suitable areas for West Nile virus outbreaks in equid populations for application in surveillance plans: the example of the Castile and Leon region of Spain

  • V. RODRÍGUEZ-PRIETO (a1), B. MARTÍNEZ-LÓPEZ (a1), M. MARTÍNEZ (a1) (a2), M. J. MUÑOZ (a2) and J. M. SÁNCHEZ-VIZCAÍNO (a1)...

The introduction and rapid spread of West Nile virus (WNV) into new areas such as the American continent, associated also with the severity of the disease in humans and equids has increased concerns regarding the need to better prevent and control future WNV incursions. WNV outbreaks in equids usually occur under specific climatic and environmental conditions and, typically, before detection of WNV cases in humans. Targeting surveillance strategies in areas and time periods identified as suitable for WNV outbreaks in equids may act as an early-warning system to prevent disease in both equids and humans. This study used a GIS-based framework to identify suitable areas and time periods for WNV outbreak occurrence in one of the most important areas of equid production in Spain, i.e. Castile and Leon. Methods and results presented here may help to improve the early detection and control of future WNV outbreaks in Spain and other regions.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Mr V. Rodríguez-Prieto, VISAVET Centre and Animal Health Department, Veterinary School, Complutense University of Madrid, Av. Puerta de Hierro s/n, 28040, Madrid, Spain. (Email:
Hide All
1. Hubálek Z, Halouzka J. West Nile fever – a reemerging mosquito-borne viral disease in Europe. Emerging Infectious Diseases 1999; 5: 643650.
2. Higgs S, Snow K, Gould EA. The potential for West Nile virus to establish outside of its natural range: a consideration of potential mosquito vectors in the United Kingdom. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2004; 98: 8287.
3. Sebastián MM, et al. Pathological, entomological, avian and meteorological investigation of a West Nile virus epidemic in a horse farm. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 2008; 55: 134139.
4. Kramer LD, Styer LM, Ebel GD. A global perspective on the epidemiology of West Nile virus. Annual Review of Entomology 2008; 53: 6181.
5. Komar N. West Nile virus: epidemiology and ecology in North America. Advances in Virus Research 2003; 61: 185234.
6. Cabre O, et al. West Nile virus in horses, sub-Saharan Africa. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2010; 12: 19581960.
7. Sotelo E, et al. Characterization of West Nile virus isolates from Spain: new insights into the distinct West Nile virus eco-epidemiology in the Western Mediterranean. Virology 2009; 395: 289297.
8. Calistri P, et al. Epidemiology of West Nile in Europe and in the Mediterranean Basin. Open Virology Journal 2010; 4: 2937.
9. Mostashari F, et al. Dead bird clusters as an early warning system for West Nile virus activity. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2003; 9: 641646.
10. Ward MP, Scheurmann JA. The relationship between equine and human West Nile virus disease occurrence. Veterinary Microbiology 2008; 129: 378383.
11. Tachiiri K, et al. Predicting outbreaks: a spatial risk assessment of West Nile virus in British Columbia. International Journal of health Geographics 2007; 5: 21.
12. Wimberly MC, et al. Ecological niche of the 2003 West Nile virus epidemic in the Northern Great Plains of the United States. PLoS ONE 2008; 3: e3744.
13. Clements ACA, Pfeiffer DU. Emerging viral zoonoses: frameworks for spatial and spatiotemporal risk assessments and resource planning. Veterinary Journal 2009; 182: 2130.
14. Makropoulos CK, Butler D. Spatial ordered weighted averaging: incorporating spatially variable attitude towards risk in spatial multi-criteria decision-making. Environmental Modelling & Software 2006; 21: 6984.
15. Clements ACA, Pfeiffer DU, Martin V. Application of knowledge-driven spatial modelling approaches and uncertainty management to a study of Rift Valley fever in Africa. International Journal of Health Geographics 2006; 5: 57.
16. Chevalier V, et al. Environmental risk factors of West Nile virus infection of horses in the Senegal River basin. Epidemiology and Infection 2010; 138: 16011609.
17. Filipe AR, De Andrade HR. Arboviruses in the Iberian Peninsula. Acta Virologica 1990; 34: 582591.
18. Kaptoul D, et al. West Nile virus in Spain: reports of the first diagnosed case (in Spain) in a human with aseptic meningitis. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 2007; 39: 7071.
19. Anon. ProMED mail: Ministry of Health confirms a new case of West Nile virus in Benalup (Cadiz) [in Spanish] ( Archive number: 20101006.3626, 6 October 2010.
20. Jiménez-Clavero MA, et al. West Nile virus in golden eagles, Spain, 2007. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2008; 14: 14891491.
21. Figuerola J, et al. Prevalence of West Nile virus neutralizing antibodies in colonial aquatic birds in southern Spain. Avian Pathology 2007; 36: 209212.
22. Figuerola J, et al. Size matters: West Nile Virus neutralizing antibodies in resident and migratory birds in Spain. Veterinary Microbiology 2008; 132: 3946.
23. López G, et al. Prevalence of West Nile virus antibodies in Spain is related to the behaviour of migratory birds. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 2008; 8: 615621.
24. Ward MP. Epidemic West Nile virus encephalomyelitis: a temperature-dependent, spatial model of disease dynamics. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 2005; 71: 253264.
25. Epstein PR. West Nile virus and the climate. Journal of Urban Health 2001; 78: 367371.
26. López-Vélez R, Molina Moreno R. Climate change in Spain and the risk of infectious and parasitic diseases transmitted by arthropods and rodents [in Spanish]. Revista Española de Salud Pública 2005; 79: 177190.
27. Reisen WK, Fang Y, Martinez VM. Effects of temperature on the transmission of West Nile virus by Culex tarsalis (Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of Medical Entomology 2006: 43: 309317.
28. Mellor PS, Leake CJ. Climatic and geographic influences on arboviral infections and vectors. Revue Scientifique et Technique de l'Office International des Epizooties 2000; 19: 4154.
29. Agrarian Geographic Information System (SIGA-MARM) database ( Accessed 30 June 2010.
30. Sanz-Zuasti J, Velasco T. Vertebrate Fauna of Castile and Leon, Volume I: Birds [in Spanish]. Medina del Campo (Valladolid, Spain): Náyade, 2005.
31. Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM). National Biodiversity Inventory database ( Accessed 2 November 2010.
32. Murgue B, et al. West Nile outbreak in horses in southern France, 2000: the return after 35 years. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2001; 7: 692696.
33. Drobne S, Lisec A. Multi-attibute decision analysis in GIS: weighted linear combination and ordered weighted averaging. Informatica 2009; 33: 459474.
34. Durand B, et al. Serosurvey for West Nile virus in horses in southern France. Veterinary Record 2005; 157: 711713.
35. Malkinson M, et al. Introduction of West Nile virus in the Middle East by migrating white storks. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2002; 8: 392397.
36. Ponçon N, et al. Population dynamics of pest mosquitoes and potential malaria and West Nile virus vectors in relation to climatic factors and human activities in the Camargue, France. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 2007; 21: 350357.
37. Zeller HG, Schuffenecker I. West Nile virus: an overview of its spread in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin in contrast to its spread in the Americas. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2004; 23: 147156.
38. Sánchez-Seco MP, Navarro JM. Infections with Tuscany virus, West Nile virus and other arboviruses of interest in Europe [in Spanish]. Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica 2005; 23: 560568.
39. Calvete C, et al. Ecological correlates of bluetongue virus in Spain: predicted spatial occurrence and its relationship with the observed abundance of the potential Culicoides spp. vector. Veterinary Journal 2009; 182: 235243.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 20 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 147 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.