1. Epidemiology and Global Health
  2. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
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Mapping global environmental suitability for Zika virus

  1. Jane P Messina  Is a corresponding author
  2. Moritz UG Kraemer
  3. Oliver J Brady
  4. David M Pigott
  5. Freya M Shearer
  6. Daniel J Weiss
  7. Nick Golding
  8. Corrine W Ruktanonchai
  9. Peter W Gething
  10. Emily Cohn
  11. John S Brownstein
  12. Kamran Khan
  13. Andrew J Tatem
  14. Thomas Jaenisch
  15. Christopher JL Murray
  16. Fatima Marinho
  17. Thomas W Scott
  18. Simon I Hay  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  2. University of Washington, United States
  3. University of Melbourne, United Kingdom
  4. University of Southampton, United Kingdom
  5. Harvard Medical School, United Kingdom
  6. University of Toronto, Canada
  7. St Michael's Hospital, Canada
  8. Flowminder Foundation, Sweden
  9. Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany
  10. Heidelberg partner site, Germany
  11. Ministry of Health Brazil, Brazil
  12. University of California Davis, United States
Research Article
Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e15272 doi: 10.7554/eLife.15272
3 figures and 1 table


Figure 1 with 1 supplement
(A) Map showing the distribution of the final set of 323 ZIKV occurrence locations entered into the ensemble Boosted Regression Tree modelling procedure.

Locations are classified by year of occurrence to show those which took place (i) prior to the 2007 outbreak in Federated States of Micronesia; (ii) between 2007–2014; and (iii) during the 2015–2016 outbreak; (B) the total number of locations reporting symptomatic ZIKV occurrence in humans globally over time.

Figure 1—figure supplement 1
Maps of all covariates entered into the 300 BRT models.

(A) probability of being urban, 2015; (B) enhanced vegetation index; (C) minimum relative humidity; (D) cumulative annual precipitation (mm); (E) temperature suitability for dengue via Ae. aegypti; (F) temperature suitability for dengue via Ae. albopictus

Figure 2 with 4 supplements
Maps of (A) global environmental suitability for ZIKV, ranging from 0 (grey) to 1 (red), showing greater detail for (B) the Americas, (C) Africa, and (D) Asia and Oceania.
Figure 2—figure supplement 1
Uncertainty around Zika suitability predictions displayed in main manuscript – Figure 2, ranging from less than 0.01 (very little uncertainty) to 0.94 (greatest uncertainty).
Figure 2—figure supplement 2
Effect plots for each covariate entered into the ensemble of 300 BRT models.

(A) minimum relative humidity; (B) cumulative annual precipitation (mm); (C) enhanced vegetation index; (B) probability of being urban (%); (E) temperature suitability for dengue via Ae. aegypti; (F) temperature suitability for dengue via Ae. albopictus.

Figure 2—figure supplement 3
Environmental suitability for Zika virus transmission to humans, not taking into account temperature suitability for dengue via Aedes albopictus.

Covariate effects are as follows: cumulative annual precipitation (67.4%); temperature suitability for dengue via Ae. aegypti (16.9%); probability of being urban, 2015 (8.2%); enhanced vegetation index (5.1%); minimum relative humidity (2.4%).

Figure 2—figure supplement 4
Map showing areas predicted to have greater dengue suitability (from Bhatt et al., 2013, Nature) vs those which are predicted to have greater Zika suitability in the current study.

These values are restricted to areas where both diseases had non-zero predictions.

Status of ZIKV reporting as of 2016 by country, showing countries that are highly environmentally suitable (having a suitable area of more than 10,000 square kilometres) but which have not yet reported symptomatic cases of ZIKV in humans. 'Currently reporting' countries are those having reported cases since 2015.


Table 1

Population living in areas suitable for ZIKV transmission within each major world region and top four countries contributing to these populations at risk.

Region/CountryPopulation living in areas suitable for ZIKV transmission (millions)
Democratic Republic of the Congo68.95
United Republic of Tanzania22.70

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