Estimating the climate change consequences on the potential distribution of Culex pipiens L. 1758, to assess the risk of West Nile virus establishment in Chile
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Keywords

MaxEnt
mosquitoes
species distribution models
vector-borne diseases enfermedades transmitidas por vectores
MaxEnt
modelos de distribución de especies
mosquitos

Abstract

Climate change affects the dynamics of vector-borne diseases. Culex pipiens Linnaeus is the main vector of West Nile fever; a widely distributed arbovirus, it is continuously increasing its distribution. Using a species distribution model, maps of suitable habitats of Cx. pipiens were generated for Chile in the current climate and three climate change  scenarios,  using  global  and  regional  georeferenced vector presence  records  as  input,  plus  bioclimatic variables. Since this virus has not yet arrived in Chile, the purpose of this study is to anticipate potential risk areas and to prevent the establishment and spread of the virus. Cx. pipiens is widely distributed in Chile. The suitable habitats in Chile were concentrated mostly from 32º to 35ºS, increasing in future scenarios up to 113 % in the northern zone and moving towards the mountains. This species conserves around 90 % of its niche in the future, and shows a reduction of 11.4 % in the severe climate change scenario. It is anticipated that Chile will experience an increase in the environmental suitability for Cx. pipiens moving from the Andes to the coastal zone throughout the country, mainly in the center-south. This will raise the risk of local virus transmission if the virus is introduced to the country via diverse routes.

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