Long-term retrospective assessment of a transmission hotspot for human alveolar echinococcosis in mid-west China

Giraudoux,, P, YuMin, Z, Afonso, E, HongBin, Y, Knapp, J, Rogan, MT ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5399-8570, DaZhong, S, WanZhong, J and Craig, PS 2019, 'Long-term retrospective assessment of a transmission hotspot for human alveolar echinococcosis in mid-west China' , PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 13 (8) .

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Abstract

Background
Human alveolar echinococcosis caused by infection with Echinococcus multilocularis is one of the most potentially pathogenic helminthic zoonoses. Transmission occurs involving wildlife cycles typically between fox and small mammal intermediate hosts. In the late 1980s/early 1990s a large focus of human AE was identified in poor upland agricultural communities in south Gansu Province, China. More detailed investigations in 1994–97 expanded community screening and identified key risk factors of dog ownership and landscape type around villages that could support susceptible rodent populations. A crash of the dog population (susceptible domestic definitive host) in the early 1990s appeared to stop transmission.
Methodology/Findings
We subsequently undertook follow-up eco-epidemiological studies based on human population screening and dog survey, in 2005/6 and in 2014/15. Our observations show a decrease in human AE prevalence, especially marked in the 11–30 year old age category. In 2015, although the dog population had recovered and in addition, forest protection and the reforestation of some areas may have favoured red fox (wild definitive host) population growth, there was no evidence of infection in owned dogs.
Conclusions/Significance
Those observations suggest that over decades socio-ecological changes resulted in a cascade of factors that exacerbated and then interrupted parasite emergence, with probable elimination of peri-domestic transmission of E. multilocularis in this area, despite the relative proximity of large active transmission foci on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. This study case exemplifies how anthropogenic land use and behavioural changes can modify emergence events and the transmission of endemic zoonotic parasite infections, and subsequently the importance of considering processes over the long-term in a systems approach in order to understand pathogen and disease distribution.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1935-2727
Related URLs:
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Depositing User: MT Rogan
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2019 08:59
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2019 13:00
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/52584

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