Science Daily has published a news item about research into changes in the behaviour of bluetongue – a viral disease of cattle and sheep – from the 1960s to the present day (the researchers also looked at what could happen to the transmission of the virus 40 years into the future).
The researchers found that an outbreak of the disease could be explained by changes to the climate. Between 1998 and 2010, more than 80,000 European outbreaks of bluetongue – which caused the deaths of millions of animals – were reported to the World Animal Health Organisation. At one time, bluetongue was restricted to Africa and Asia but its emergence in Europe is thought to be linked to increased temperatures.
Using future projections, the researchers found that in northern Europe there could be a 17% increase in incidence of the bluetongue virus, compared to 7% in southern regions, where it is already much warmer.