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Effects of Temperature on Emergence and Seasonality of West Nile Virus in California

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  • Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; Imaging Science and Information Systems Center and Departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Radiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia; Center for Vectorborne Diseases, University of California, Davis, California; Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, Resources for the Future, Washington, District of Columbia; Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

Temperature has played a critical role in the spatiotemporal dynamics of West Nile virus transmission throughout California from its introduction in 2003 through establishment by 2009. We compared two novel mechanistic measures of transmission risk, the temperature-dependent ratio of virus extrinsic incubation period to the mosquito gonotrophic period (BT), and the fundamental reproductive ratio (R0) based on a mathematical model, to analyze spatiotemporal patterns of receptivity to viral amplification. Maps of BT and R0 were created at 20-km scale and compared throughout California to seroconversions in sentinel chicken flocks at half-month intervals. Overall, estimates of BT and R0 agreed with intensity of transmission measured by the frequency of sentinel chicken seroconversions. Mechanistic measures such as these are important for understanding how temperature affects the spatiotemporal dynamics of West Nile virus transmission and for delineating risk estimates useful to inform vector control agency intervention decisions and communicate outbreak potential.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to David M. Hartley, Georgetown University Medical Center, 2115 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 603, Washington, DC 20057. E-mail: Hartley@isis.georgetown.edu

Financial support: This study was supported by the Research and Policy for Infectious Disease Dynamics program of the Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security and the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health. Christopher M. Barker and William K. Reisen are supported, in part, by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant U01EH000418 to study the impacts of climate change on mosquitoborne virus transmission, and National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institues of Health grant R01 AI55607 to model amplification of WNV.

Authors' addresses: David M. Hartley and Tianchan Niu, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC, E-mails: Hartley@isis.georgetown.edu and Niu@isis.georgetown.edu. Christopher M. Barker and William K. Reisen, Center for Vectorborne Diseases, University of California, Davis, CA, E-mails: cmbarker@ucdavis.edu and wkreisen@ucdavis.edu. Arnaud Le Menach, Resources for the Future, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, Washington, DC, E-mail: arnaudlemenach@gmail.com. Holly D. Gaff, Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, E-mail: hgaff@odu.edu.

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