Background Mosquito-borne diseases are on the rise. While climatic factors have been linked to disease occurrences, they do not explain the non-random spatial distribution in disease outbreaks. Landscape-related factors, such as vegetation structure, likely play a crucial but hitherto unquantified role.

Methods We explored how three critically important factors that are associated with mosquito-borne disease outbreaks: microclimate, mosquito abundance and bird communities, vary at the landscape scale. We compared the co-occurrence of these three factors in two contrasting habitat types (forest versus grassland) across five rural locations in the central part of the Netherlands between June and September 2021.

Results Our results show that forest patches provide a more sheltered microclimate, and a higher overall abundance of birds. When accounting for differences in landscape characteristics, we also observed that the number of mosquitoes was higher in isolated forest patches.

Conclusions Our findings indicate that, at the landscape scale, variation in tree cover coincides with suitable microclimate and high Culex pipiens and bird abundance. Overall, these factors can help understand the non-random spatial distribution of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks.

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Parasites & Vectors

Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution 4.0 International") License

Staff publications

Krol, Louie, Remmerswaal, Laure, Groen, Marvin, van der Beek, J., Sikkema, Reina S., Dellar, Martha, … Schrama, Maarten. (2024). Landscape level associations between birds, mosquitoes and microclimates: possible consequences for disease transmission?. Parasites & Vectors, 17(156). doi:10.1186/s13071-024-06239-z