Background: Bluetongue (BT) is an important infectious, non-contagious, OIE-listed viral disease of domestic and wild ruminants.The disease is transmitted among susceptible animals by a few species of an insect vector in the genus Culicoides. Recently, during the fall of 2020 (September and October), a BTV-4 epizootic marked the epidemiological situation in several delegations of Tunisia with clinical cases recorded in sheep and cattle.
Aim: Determine the eco-climatic variables that were most likely associated with delegations reporting BT cases, using logistic regression model (LRM).
Results: Our findings, based on the LRM, demonstrated that the key factors that contributed significantly to the distribution of BT cases among delegations in Tunisia included day and night land surface temperatures (DLST) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Positive correlation between sheep distribution and rainfall amounts was demonstrated. Statistical analysis focusing on the most affected delegations during the BT epidemic (the Sahel and the Centre of Tunisia) demonstrated that the epidemic situation seems to be a consequence of the combination of the following environmental parameters: NDVI with values ranging between 0.16-0.3, moderate rainfall 2-4-fold above the normal (10-50mm) and DLST values between 32 and 34°C.
Conclusion: These findings allow to suggest and develop a robust and efficient early warning surveillance program in risk areas based on eco-climatic risk factors.
Key words: Bluetongue, Tunisia, Eco-climatic factors, logistic-regression-analysis