Outbreaks of vector-borne diseases may be associated with range expansion of vector populations, and predicting the potential distribution of vectors can aid disease prevention. In this study, researchers model the distribution of the southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) known to carry disease-causing agents such as West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis virus, but also potentially Zika virus and a number of viruses that cause disease in livestock and other animals.
Under present-day conditions the potential distribution of C. quinquefasciatus showed high suitability in southern North America, most of South America, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and most of Australia and New Zealand. Projections using future climate scenarios revealed similar distribution patterns, however, with small, but significant increases, particularly in southern Australia.
Combining the maps of potential present-day and future distributions can identify areas, in which control and surveillance programs should be prioritized to help prevent disease outbreak.