The invasion of multiple strains of the midge-borne bluetongue virus into southern Europe since the late 1990s provides a rare example of a clear impact of climate change on a vector-borne disease. However, the subsequent dramatic continent-wide spread and burden of this disease has depended largely on altered biotic interactions with vector and host communities in newly invaded areas. Transmission by Palearctic vectors has facilitated the establishment of the disease in cooler and wetter areas of both northern and southern Europe. This paper discusses the important biological and climatic processes involved in these invasions, and the lessons that must be drawn for effective risk management of bluetongue and other midge-borne viruses in Europe
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