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Drivers of Echinococcus multilocularis Transmission in China: small mammal diversity, landscape or climate?

Yang, G-J, Giraudoux, P, Raoul, F, Pleydell, D, Li, T, Han, X, Qiu, J, Xie, Y, Wang, H, Ito, A and Craig, PS 2013, 'Drivers of Echinococcus multilocularis Transmission in China: small mammal diversity, landscape or climate?' , PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7 (3) , e2045.

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BACKGROUND:Human alveolar echinococcocosis (AE) is a highly pathogenic zoonotic disease caused by the larval stage of the cestode E. multilocularis. Its life-cycle includes more than 40 species of small mammal intermediate hosts. Therefore, host biodiversity losses could be expected to alter transmission. Climate may also have possible impacts on E. multilocularis egg survival. We examined the distribution of human AE across two spatial scales, (i) for continental China and (ii) over the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. We tested the hypotheses that human disease distribution can be explained by either the biodiversity of small mammal intermediate host species, or by environmental factors such as climate or landscape characteristics. METHODOLOGY/FINDINGS: The distributions of 274 small mammal species were mapped to 967 point locations on a grid covering continental China. Land cover, elevation, monthly rainfall and temperature were mapped using remotely sensed imagery and compared to the distribution of human AE disease at continental scale and over the eastern Tibetan plateau. Infection status of 17,589 people screened by abdominal ultrasound in 2002-2008 in 94 villages of Tibetan areas of western Sichuan and Qinghai provinces was analyzed using generalized additive mixed models and related to epidemiological and environmental covariates. We found that human AE was not directly correlated with small mammal reservoir host species richness, but rather was spatially correlated with landscape features and climate which could confirm and predict human disease hotspots over a 200,000 km(2) region. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: E. multilocularis transmission and resultant human disease risk was better predicted from landscape features that could support increases of small mammal host species prone to population outbreaks, rather than host species richness. We anticipate that our study may be a starting point for further research wherein landscape management could be used to predict human disease risk and for controlling this zoonotic helminthic

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1935-2735
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2014 16:29
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2016 18:16

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