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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #219602

Title: Prediction of a Rift Valley fever Outbreak

item Anyamba, Assaf
item Chretien, Jean-paul
item Small, Jennifer
item Tucker, Compton
item Formenty, Pierre
item Richardson, Jason
item Britch, Seth
item Schnabel, David
item Erickson, Ralph
item Linthicum, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/2008
Publication Date: 1/20/2009
Citation: Anyamba, A., Chretien, J., Small, J., Tucker, C.J., Formenty, P., Richardson, J.H., Britch, S.C., Schnabel, D.C., Erickson, R.L., Linthicum, K. 2009. Prediction of a Rift Valley fever Outbreak. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106(3):955-959.

Interpretive Summary: Using satellite measurements to monitor key global and local environmental parameters we predicted for the first time an outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in humans and animals in the Horn of Africa. Anomalous warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific and Indian Oceans during July – October 2006, and subsequent elevated vegetation index anomalies following excess rainfall from September – December 2006, drove a spatial and temporal risk model that warned of likely RVF activity across the Horn of Africa. This early warning provided critical information to international and national governments for rapid implementation of control programs that reduced the impact of the disease on the population and economy.

Technical Abstract: Using satellite measurements to detect elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and subsequent elevated normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data in Africa, we predicted an outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in humans and animals in the Horn of Africa during September 2006-May 2007. We detected anomalously elevated SSTs concurrently in the equatorial east Pacific and western Indian Oceans during July-October 2006, consistent with El Nino/Southern Oscillation, followed by above normal rainfall from September-December and subsequent positive NDVI anomalies indicating elevated risk of RVF across the Horn of Africa. The early warning allowed entomological field investigations that confirmed virus activity and facilitated outbreak control activities.