#Predictive #analysis across spatial scales links #zoonotic #malaria to #deforestation (Proc Roy Soc B., abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Predictive analysis across spatial scales links zoonotic malaria to deforestation

Patrick M. Brock, Kimberly M. Fornace, Matthew J. Grigg, Nicholas M. Anstey,Timothy William, Jon Cox, Chris J. Drakeley, Heather M. Ferguson and Rowland R. Kao

Published: 16 January 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.2351



The complex transmission ecologies of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases pose challenges to their control, especially in changing landscapes. Human incidence of zoonotic malaria (Plasmodium knowlesi) is associated with deforestation although mechanisms are unknown. Here, a novel application of a method for predicting disease occurrence that combines machine learning and statistics is used to identify the key spatial scales that define the relationship between zoonotic malaria cases and environmental change. Using data from satellite imagery, a case–control study, and a cross-sectional survey, predictive models of household-level occurrence of P. knowlesiwere fitted with 16 variables summarized at 11 spatial scales simultaneously. The method identified a strong and well-defined peak of predictive influence of the proportion of cleared land within 1 km of households on P. knowlesi occurrence. Aspect (1 and 2 km), slope (0.5 km) and canopy regrowth (0.5 km) were important at small scales. By contrast, fragmentation of deforested areas influenced P. knowlesi occurrence probability most strongly at large scales (4 and 5 km). The identification of these spatial scales narrows the field of plausible mechanisms that connect land use change and P. knowlesi, allowing for the refinement of disease occurrence predictions and the design of spatially-targeted interventions.

Keywords: Malaria; Deforestation.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.