Abdallah M. Samy, Stephanie M. Thomas, Ahmed Abd El Wahed, Kevin P. Cohoon, A. Townsend Peterson
The Americas are presently experiencing the most serious outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) known. Here, we present a novel set of analyses using environmental characteristics, vector distributions, and socioeconomic risk factors to develop the first map to detail global ZIKV transmission risk in multiple dimensions based on ecological niche models. Our model predictions were tested against independent evaluation data sets, and all models had predictive ability significantly better than random expectations. The study addresses urgent knowledge gaps regarding the potential geographic scope of the current ZIKV epidemic, as well as the global potential for spread. It also provides a highly informative view of potential drivers of ZIKV distributions globally, pointing out areas vulnerable in terms of some drivers, but not in others. The results of these analyses can guide regional education and preparedness efforts, such that medical personnel will be prepared for diagnosis of potential ZIKV cases as they appear.
This paper was submitted to the Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz on 14 April 2016 and was posted to the Zika Fast Track site on 15 April 2016, according to the protocol for public health emergencies for international concern as described in Dye et al. (2016) (http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.16.170860). The information herein is available for unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction provided that the original work is properly cited as indicated by the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY).