195 research outputs found

    Review of “Trypanosomes and Trypanosomiasis” by Stefan Magez and Magdalena Radwanska (Editors)

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    BOOK DETAILS: Magez, S and Radwanska, M (Eds.): Trypanosomes and Trypanosomiasis Springer-Verlag; 2014. 294 pages. ISBN 978-3-7091-1556-

    Identifying biotic interactions which drive the spatial distribution of a mosquito community

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    Background: Spatial variation in the risk of many mosquito-borne pathogens is strongly influenced by the distribution of communities of suitable vector mosquitoes. The spatial distributions of such communities have been linked to the abiotic habitat requirements of each constituent mosquito species, but the biotic interactions between mosquitoes and other species are less well understood. Determining which fauna restrict the presence and abundance of key mosquito species in vector communities may identify species which could be employed as natural biological control agents. Whilst biotic interactions have been studied in the laboratory, a lack of appropriate statistical methods has prohibited the identification of key interactions which influence mosquito distributions in the field. Joint species distribution models (JSDMs) have recently been developed to identify biotic interactions influencing the distributions of species from empirical data. Methods: We apply a JSDM to field data on the spatial distribution of mosquitoes in a UK wetland to identify both abiotic factors and biotic interactions driving the composition of the community. Results: As expected, mosquito larval distributions in this wetland habitat are strongly driven by environmental covariates including water depth, temperature and oxidation-reduction potential. By factoring out these environmental variables, we are able to identify species (ditch shrimp of the genus Palaemonetes and fish) as predators which appear to restrict mosquito distributions. Conclusions: JSDMs offer vector ecologists a way to identify potentially important biotic interactions influencing the distributions of disease vectors from widely available field data. This information is crucial to understand the likely effects of habitat management for vector control and to identify species with the potential for use in biological control programmes. We provide an R package BayesComm to enable the wider application of these models

    Mapping the zoonotic niche of Marburg virus disease in Africa.

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    BACKGROUND: Marburg virus disease (MVD) describes a viral haemorrhagic fever responsible for a number of outbreaks across eastern and southern Africa. It is a zoonotic disease, with the Egyptian rousette (Rousettus aegyptiacus) identified as a reservoir host. Infection is suspected to result from contact between this reservoir and human populations, with occasional secondary human-to-human transmission. METHODS: Index cases of previous human outbreaks were identified and reports of infection in animals recorded. These data were modelled within a species distribution modelling framework in order to generate a probabilistic surface of zoonotic transmission potential of MVD across sub-Saharan Africa. RESULTS: Areas suitable for zoonotic transmission of MVD are predicted in 27 countries inhabited by 105 million people. Regions are suggested for exploratory surveys to better characterise the geographical distribution of the disease, as well as for directing efforts to communicate the risk of practices enhancing zoonotic contact. CONCLUSIONS: These maps can inform future contingency and preparedness strategies for MVD control, especially where secondary transmission is a risk. Coupling this risk map with patient travel histories could be used to guide the differential diagnosis of highly transmissible pathogens, enabling more rapid response to outbreaks of haemorrhagic fever

    Mapping the spatial distribution of the Japanese encephalitis vector, Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles, 1901 (Diptera: Culicidae) within areas of Japanese encephalitis risk

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    Background Japanese encephalitis (JE) is one of the most significant aetiological agents of viral encephalitis in Asia. This medically important arbovirus is primarily spread from vertebrate hosts to humans by the mosquito vector Culex tritaeniorhynchus. Knowledge of the contemporary distribution of this vector species is lacking, and efforts to define areas of disease risk greatly depend on a thorough understanding of the variation in this mosquito’s geographical distribution. Results We assembled a contemporary database of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence records within Japanese encephalitis risk areas from formal literature and other relevant resources, resulting in 1,045 geo-referenced, spatially and temporally unique presence records spanning from 1928 to 2014 (71.9% of records obtained between 2001 and 2014). These presence data were combined with a background dataset capturing sample bias in our presence dataset, along with environmental and socio-economic covariates, to inform a boosted regression tree model predicting environmental suitability for Cx. tritaeniorhynchus at each 5 × 5 km gridded cell within areas of JE risk. The resulting fine-scale map highlights areas of high environmental suitability for this species across India, Nepal and China that coincide with areas of high JE incidence, emphasising the role of this vector in disease transmission and the utility of the map generated. Conclusions Our map contributes towards efforts determining the spatial heterogeneity in Cx. tritaeniorhynchus distribution within the limits of JE transmission. Specifically, this map can be used to inform vector control programs and can be used to identify key areas where the prevention of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus establishment should be a priority

    Developing H++ climate change scenarios for heat waves, droughts, floods, windstorms and cold snaps

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    This report describes the results of a project to investigate the development of plausible high-end climate change scenarios. It covers the following climate hazards: heat waves, cold snaps, low and high rainfall, droughts, floods and windstorms. The scope of the project does not extend into defining the consequences of these hazards such as mortality, property damage or impacts on the natural environment. The scenarios created for this report are referred to as H++ scenarios, and are typically more extreme climate change scenarios on the margins or outside of the 10th to 90th percentile range presented in the 2009 UK climate change projections (also known as ‘UKCP09’)

    Integrating vector control across diseases

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    Background: Vector-borne diseases cause a significant proportion of the overall burden of disease across the globe, accounting for over 10 % of the burden of infectious diseases. Despite the availability of effective interventions for many of these diseases, a lack of resources prevents their effective control. Many existing vector control interventions are known to be effective against multiple diseases, so combining vector control programmes to simultaneously tackle several diseases could offer more cost-effective and therefore sustainable disease reductions. Discussion: The highly successful cross-disease integration of vaccine and mass drug administration programmes in low-resource settings acts a precedent for cross-disease vector control. Whilst deliberate implementation of vector control programmes across multiple diseases has yet to be trialled on a large scale, a number of examples of ‘accidental’ cross-disease vector control suggest the potential of such an approach. Combining contemporary high-resolution global maps of the major vector-borne pathogens enables us to quantify overlap in their distributions and to estimate the populations jointly at risk of multiple diseases. Such an analysis shows that over 80 % of the global population live in regions of the world at risk from one vector-borne disease, and more than half the world’s population live in areas where at least two different vector-borne diseases pose a threat to health. Combining information on co-endemicity with an assessment of the overlap of vector control methods effective against these diseases allows us to highlight opportunities for such integration. Summary: Malaria, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and dengue are prime candidates for combined vector control. All four of these diseases overlap considerably in their distributions and there is a growing body of evidence for the effectiveness of insecticide-treated nets, screens, and curtains for controlling all of their vectors. The real-world effectiveness of cross-disease vector control programmes can only be evaluated by large-scale trials, but there is clear evidence of the potential of such an approach to enable greater overall health benefit using the limited funds available

    The global distribution and transmission limits of lymphatic filariasis: past and present.

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    BACKGROUND: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is one of the neglected tropical diseases targeted for global elimination by 2020 and to guide elimination efforts countries have, in recent years, conducted extensive mapping surveys. Documenting the past and present distribution of LF and its environmental limits is important for a number of reasons. Here, we present an initiative to develop a global atlas of LF and present a new global map of the limits of LF transmission. METHODS: We undertook a systematic search and assembly of prevalence data worldwide and used a suite of environmental and climatic data and boosted regression trees (BRT) modelling to map the transmission limits of LF. RESULTS: Data were identified for 66 of the 72 countries currently endemic and for a further 17 countries where LF is no longer endemic. Our map highlights a restricted and highly heterogeneous distribution in sub-Saharan Africa, with transmission more widespread in West Africa compared to east, central and southern Africa where pockets of transmission occur. Contemporary transmission occurs across much of south and South-east Asia and the Pacific. Interestingly, the risk map reflects environmental conditions suitable for LF transmission across Central and South America, including the southern States of America, although active transmission is only known in a few isolated foci. In countries that have eliminated LF, our predictions of environmental suitability are consistent with historical distribution. CONCLUSIONS: The global distribution of LF is highly heterogeneous and geographically targeted and sustained control will be required to achieve elimination. This first global map can help evaluate the progress of interventions and guide surveillance activities

    Global temperature constraints on Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus persistence and competence for dengue virus transmission.

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    BACKGROUND: Dengue is a disease that has undergone significant expansion over the past hundred years. Understanding what factors limit the distribution of transmission can be used to predict current and future limits to further dengue expansion. While not the only factor, temperature plays an important role in defining these limits. Previous attempts to analyse the effect of temperature on the geographic distribution of dengue have not considered its dynamic intra-annual and diurnal change and its cumulative effects on mosquito and virus populations. METHODS: Here we expand an existing modelling framework with new temperature-based relationships to model an index proportional to the basic reproductive number of the dengue virus. This model framework is combined with high spatial and temporal resolution global temperature data to model the effects of temperature on Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus persistence and competence for dengue virus transmission. RESULTS: Our model predicted areas where temperature is not expected to permit transmission and/or Aedes persistence throughout the year. By reanalysing existing experimental data our analysis indicates that Ae. albopictus, often considered a minor vector of dengue, has comparable rates of virus dissemination to its primary vector, Ae. aegypti, and when the longer lifespan of Ae. albopictus is considered its competence for dengue virus transmission far exceeds that of Ae. aegypti. CONCLUSIONS: These results can be used to analyse the effects of temperature and other contributing factors on the expansion of dengue or its Aedes vectors. Our finding that Ae. albopictus has a greater capacity for dengue transmission than Ae. aegypti is contrary to current explanations for the comparative rarity of dengue transmission in established Ae. albopictus populations. This suggests that the limited capacity of Ae. albopictus to transmit DENV is more dependent on its ecology than vector competence. The recommendations, which we explicitly outlined here, point to clear targets for entomological investigation
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