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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Disease Ecology Meeting Event

12:30 - 13:30
14 May 2014
Lecture Room B Building 44 Highfield Campus

For more information regarding this event, please telephone Nicola Wardrop on 023 8059 4612 or email .

Event details

The effect of the wind in the recent spread of the novel Schmallenberg virus in North Europe

Between summer and autumn 2011 an unknown disease was discovered among cattle, sheep and goats in North Europe. The clinical signs were diarrhoea, fever and reduction in milk yield for a short period of time. Two months later during the lambing period, an unusual large number of birth malformations (concluding in the death of the newborns) were reported for the same areas. This disease affecting adults animal with mild symptoms and foetuses with deadly defects was caused by Schmallenberg virus (named after the German town were the virus was first detected). Schmallenberg virus is a novel virus of unknown origin, and its group (Orthobunyavirus) was thought to be absent from Europe.

Schmallenberg disease spread in most of Europe at a rate unprecedentedly recorded for similar diseases (i.e. Bluetongue), affecting thousands of farms from Sweden to South Spain. After one year from the first disease detection, scientists found in midges of the genus Culicoides one of the vectors of this disease. Biting midges are haematophagous insects, vectors of other important livestock diseases such as bluetongue, African Horse sickness and epizootic Haemorrhagic disease.
In this seminar the Schmallenberg disease system, outbreak and the effect of the wind in its spread are presented. The latter was investigated using a stochastic algorithm from which it was possible to describe the prevalent downwind movement of the midges and hence of the disease, and the timing of the infections (1).

These meetings are intended for everyone with an interest in disease ecology, spatial epidemiology and the types of spatial analysis and modelling methods that may be used in this field. There will also be a lot of relevance in some of our meetings for researchers in similar fields (e.g. species distribution modelling, health geography).

All are welcome to join us – it’s a great opportunity to get together and discuss on-going research, methods, conferences, publications and more in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Feel free to bring your lunch.

The list of upcoming meetings is kept up to date here.



1. Sedda, L. and Rogers, D. J. (2013) The influence of the wind in the Schmallenberg virus outbreak in Europe. Scientific Reports, 3: 3361 (doi:10.1038/srep03361).

Speaker information

Dr Luigi Sedda,Lecturer in Geography

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