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Chronic bee paralysis as a serious emerging threat to honey bees

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Giles E. Budge, Nicola K. Simcock, Philippa J. Holder, Mark D. F. Shirley, Mike A. Brown, Pauline S. M. Van Weymers, David J. Evans, Steve P. Rushton

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Chronic bee paralysis is a well-defined viral disease of honey bees with a global distribution that until recently caused rare but severe symptomatology including colony loss. Anecdotal evidence indicates a recent increase in virus incidence in several countries, but no mention of concomitant disease. We use government honey bee health inspection records from England and Wales to test whether chronic bee paralysis is an emerging infectious disease and investigate the spatiotemporal patterns of disease. The number of chronic bee paralysis cases increased exponentially between 2007 and 2017, demonstrating chronic bee paralysis as an emergent disease. Disease is highly clustered spatially within most years, suggesting local spread, but not between years, suggesting disease burnt out with periodic reintroduction. Apiary and county level risk factors are confirmed to include scale of beekeeping operation and the history of honey bee imports. Our findings offer epidemiological insight into this damaging emerging disease.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2164
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

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