bims-mosdis Biomed News
on Mosquito distribution and disease
Issue of 2021‒06‒20
twenty papers selected by
Richard Halfpenny
Staffordshire University

  1. PLoS Genet. 2021 Jun;17(6): e1009606
      Pyrethroids are one of the few classes of insecticides available to control Aedes aegypti, the major vector of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. Unfortunately, evolving mechanisms of pyrethroid resistance in mosquito populations threaten our ability to control disease outbreaks. Two common pyrethroid resistance mechanisms occur in Ae. aegypti: 1) knockdown resistance, which involves amino acid substitutions at the pyrethroid target site-the voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC)-and 2) enhanced metabolism by detoxification enzymes. When a heterogeneous population of mosquitoes is exposed to pyrethroids, different responses occur. During exposure, a proportion of mosquitoes exhibit immediate knockdown, whereas others are not knocked-down and are designated knockdown resistant (kdr). When these individuals are removed from the source of insecticide, the knocked-down mosquitoes can either remain in this status and lead to dead or recover within a few hours. The proportion of these phenotypic responses is dependent on the pyrethroid concentration and the genetic background of the population tested. In this study, we sequenced and performed pairwise genome comparisons between kdr, recovered, and dead phenotypes in a pyrethroid-resistant colony from Tapachula, Mexico. We identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with each phenotype and identified genes that are likely associated with the mechanisms of pyrethroid resistance, including detoxification, the cuticle, and insecticide target sites. We identified high association between kdr and mutations at VGSC and moderate association with additional insecticide target site, detoxification, and cuticle protein coding genes. Recovery was associated with cuticle proteins, the voltage-dependent calcium channel, and a different group of detoxification genes. We provide a list of detoxification genes under directional selection in this field-resistant population. Their functional roles in pyrethroid metabolism and their potential uses as genomic markers of resistance require validation.
  2. Sci Rep. 2021 Jun 16. 11(1): 12667
      An extensive network of storm water conveyance systems in urban areas, often referred to as the "underground storm drain system" (USDS), serves as significant production habitats for mosquitoes. Knowledge of whether USDS habitats are suitable for newly introduced dengue vectors Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus will help guide surveillance and control efforts. To determine whether the USDS functions as a suitable larval habitat for Culex, Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus in southern California, we examined mosquito habitat utilization and larval survivorship using laboratory microcosm studies. The data showed that USDS constituted 4.1% of sampled larval habitats for Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, and 22.0% for Cx. quinquefasciatus. Furthermore, USDS water collected in the summer completely inhibited Aedes larval development, but yielded a 15.0% pupation rate for Cx. quinquefasciatus. Food supplementation in the microcosms suggests that nutrient deficiency, toxins and other factors in the USDS water led to low success or complete failure of larval development. These results suggest that USDS habitats are currently not major productive larval habitats for Aedes mosquitoes in southern California. Our findings prompt inclusion of assessments of pupal productivity in USDS habitats and adult mosquito resting sites in the mosquito surveillance program.
  3. Parasit Vectors. 2021 Jun 10. 14(1): 315
      Dengue fever is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in Southeast Asia. Insecticides remain the most effective vector control approach for Aedes mosquitoes. Four main classes of insecticides are widely used for mosquito control: organochlorines, organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates. Here, we review the distribution of dengue fever from 2000 to 2020 and its associated mortality in Southeast Asian countries, and we gather evidence on the trend of insecticide resistance and its distribution in these countries since 2000, summarising the mechanisms involved. The prevalence of resistance to these insecticides is increasing in Southeast Asia, and the mechanisms of resistance are reported to be associated with target site mutations, metabolic detoxification, reduced penetration of insecticides via the mosquito cuticle and behavioural changes of mosquitoes. Continuous monitoring of the status of resistance and searching for alternative control measures will be critical for minimising any unpredicted outbreaks and improving public health. This review also provides improved insights into the specific use of insecticides for effective control of mosquitoes in these dengue endemic countries.
    Keywords:  Aedes mosquitoes; Dengue; Insecticide resistance; Prevalence; Southeast Asia
  4. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2021 Jun 14.
      Malaria vectors are supposedly uncommon in urban areas owing to the lack of suitable breeding sites for their development. However, the maintenance in urban areas of traditional rural practices along with humanitarian crisis can create favorable conditions for malaria transmission. This study aimed to provide relevant entomological data on the risk of malaria transmission in the city of Bouaké, after the military-political crisis from 2002 to 2011 in Côte d'Ivoire. Adults mosquitoes were collected by human landing catches in Dar Es Salam, Kennedy and N'gattakro neighborhoods. Potential breeding sites were georeferenced and mapped using a GPS. Mosquito species were identified morphologically and by molecular methods. Plasmodium infections were detected by quantitative PCR. Anopheline larvae were found in rice and vegetable crops, puddles, and footprints. A total of 939 Anopheles gambiae s.l. were caught during the surveys. The average human biting rate was 8.8 bites/person/night. The A. gambiae s.l. species were A. gambiae s.s (89.6%) and Anopheles coluzzii (10.4%). The average infectivity rate was 0.74% and the average annual entomological inoculation rate was estimated at 19 infected bites/person/year ranging from 0 in Dar Es Salam and N'gattakro to 58 in Kennedy. The risk of malaria transmission exists in Bouaké city, although Plasmodium infections are low.
    Keywords:  habitats; larvae; malaria; transmission; urban; vector
  5. Parasit Vectors. 2021 Jun 12. 14(1): 320
      INTRODUCTION: Longitudinal monitoring of outdoor-biting malaria vector populations is becoming increasingly important in understanding the dynamics of residual malaria transmission. However, the human landing catch (HLC), the gold standard for measuring human biting rates indoors and outdoors, is costly and raises ethical concerns related to increased risk of infectious bites among collectors. Consequently, routine data on outdoor-feeding mosquito populations are usually limited because of the lack of a scalable tool with similar sensitivity to outdoor HLC.METHODOLOGY: The Anopheles trapping sensitivity of four baited proxy outdoor trapping methods-Furvela tent trap (FTT), host decoy trap (HDT), mosquito electrocuting traps (MET) and outdoor CDC light traps (OLT)-was assessed relative to HLC in a 5 × 5 replicated Latin square conducted over 25 nights in two villages of western Kenya. Indoor CDC light trap (ILT) was run in one house in each of the compounds with outdoor traps, while additional non-Latin square indoor and outdoor HLC collections were performed in one of the study villages.
    RESULTS: The MET, FTT, HDT and OLT sampled approximately 4.67, 7.58, 5.69 and 1.98 times more An. arabiensis compared to HLC, respectively, in Kakola Ombaka. Only FTT was more sensitive relative to HLC in sampling An. funestus in Kakola Ombaka (RR = 5.59, 95% CI 2.49-12.55, P < 0.001) and Masogo (RR = 4.38, 95% CI 1.62-11.80, P = 0.004) and in sampling An. arabiensis in Masogo (RR = 5.37, 95% CI 2.17-13.24, P < 0.001). OLT sampled significantly higher numbers of An. coustani in Kakola Ombaka (RR = 3.03, 95% CI 1.65-5.56, P < 0.001) and Masogo (RR = 2.88, 95% CI 1.15-7.22, P = 0.02) compared to HLC. OLT, HLC and MET sampled mostly An. coustani, FTT had similar proportions of An. funestus and An. arabiensis, while HDT sampled predominantly An. arabiensis in both villages. FTT showed close correlation with ILT in vector abundance for all three species at both collection sites.
    CONCLUSION: FTT and OLT are simple, easily scalable traps and are potential replacements for HLC in outdoor sampling of Anopheles mosquitoes. However, the FTT closely mirrored indoor CDC light trap in mosquito indices and therefore may be more of an indoor mimic than a true outdoor collection tool. HDT and MET show potential for sampling outdoor host-seeking mosquitoes. However, the traps as currently designed may not be feasible for large-scale, longitudinal entomological monitoring. Therefore, the baited outdoor CDC light trap may be the most appropriate tool currently available for assessment of outdoor-biting and malaria transmission risk.
  6. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2021 Jun 18. 1-33
      Dengue virus (DENV) evolutionary dynamics are characterized by frequent DENV genotype/lineage replacements, potentially associated with changes in disease severity and human immunity. New Caledonia (NC) and Cambodia, two contrasted epidemiological settings, respectively experienced a DENV-1 genotype IV to I replacement in 2012 and a DENV-1 genotype I lineage 3 to 4 replacement in 2005-2007, both followed by a massive dengue outbreak. However, their underlying evolutionary drivers have not been elucidated. Here, we tested the hypothesis that these genotype/lineage switches reflected a higher transmission fitness of the replacing DENV genotype/lineage in the mosquito vector using in vivo competition experiments. For this purpose, field-derived Aedes aegypti from NC and Cambodia were orally challenged with epidemiologically relevant pairs of four DENV-1 genotype I and IV strains from NC or four DENV-1 genotype I lineage 3 and 4 strains from Cambodia, respectively. The relative transmission fitness of each DENV-1 genotype/lineage was measured by quantitative RT-PCR for infection, dissemination, and transmission rates. Results showed a clear transmission fitness advantage of the replacing DENV-1 genotype I from NC within the vector. A similar but more subtle pattern was observed for the DENV-1 lineage 4 replacement in Cambodia. Our results support the hypothesis that vector-driven selection contributed to the DENV-1 genotype/lineage replacements in these two contrasted epidemiological settings, and reinforce the idea that natural selection taking place within the mosquito vector plays an important role in DENV short-term evolutionary dynamics.
    Keywords:  Aedes aegypti; Dengue virus; competition assay; genotype/lineage replacement; transmission fitness
  7. Commun Dis Intell (2018). 2021 Jun 15. 45
      Objective(s): To describe an autochthonous dengue virus type 2 (DENV-2) outbreak in Central Queensland from May 2019 and subsequent public health actions.Design and setting: Public health outbreak investigation of locally acquired DENV-2 cases in Rockhampton, Central Queensland. This included laboratory investigations, associated mosquito vector surveillance, and control measures implemented in response to the outbreak.
    Results: Twenty-one locally-acquired DENV-2 cases were identified during the Rockhampton outbreak (from 23 May to 7 October 2019): 13 laboratory-confirmed and eight probable cases. Clinical symptoms included lethargy (100%); fever (95%); headache (95%); and aches and pains (90%). Inspections of premises demonstrated that Aedes aegypti was present in 9.5% of those investigated which was more than half of the premises identified as containing mosquitoes. Nucleotide sequencing of a DENV-2 isolate recovered from the first confirmed case and DENV-2 RNA from an additional 5 patients indicated a single DENV-2 strain was responsible for the outbreak which was most closely related to DENV-2 strains from Southeast Asia.
    Conclusions: The 2019 DENV-2 outbreak in Rockhampton, Central Queensland, Australia, likely resulted from the importation of a strain, most closely related to DENV-2 strains from Southeast Asia and is the first reported outbreak in the region specifically implicating DENV-2. Given the presence of Aedes aegypti in Rockhampton, appropriate medical and mosquito avoidance advice; ongoing surveillance; and deployment of mosquito control strategies for the prevention of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases should be priorities for this region.
    Keywords:   Aedes aegypti ; Central Queensland ; DENV-2 ; Dengue ; Rockhampton
  8. J Med Entomol. 2021 Jun 18. pii: tjab106. [Epub ahead of print]
      This study presents the diversity of mosquitoes collected from communes, endemic with malaria and dengue, located in Khanh Hoa and Binh Phuoc Provinces, Vietnam. A total of 10,288 mosquitoes were collected in the village and forested sites using standard larval dippers, cow-baited traps, ultra-violet light traps, and mechanical aspirators. Mosquito taxa were identified morphologically and species complexes/groups were further characterized molecularly. Five genera of mosquitoes were morphologically identified: Anopheles Meigen (21 species), Aedes Meigen (2 species), Culex Linnaeus (5 species), Mansonia Blanchard sp., and Armigeres Theobald sp. The PCR-based identification methods allowed the distinction of members of Maculatus Group, Funestus Group, and Dirus Complex; and DNA barcodes enabled the further identification of the Barbirostris Complex. Data reported here include the first report of An. saeungae Taai & Harbach and An. wejchoochotei Taai & Harbach from Vietnam, and re-emphasizes the significance of using molecular data in an integrated systematic approach to identify cryptic species and better understand their role in disease transmission.
    Keywords:  DNA barcodes; PCR-based identification method; Vietnam; mosquito diversity
  9. Parasite. 2021 ;28 52
      The natural distribution range of Aedes koreicus is Korea, China, Japan, and the Russian Far East. Since 2008, this species has been recorded as an invasive species in some European countries (Belgium, European Russia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland). The invasive mosquito species Ae. koreicus is reported from the Republic of Kazakhstan for the first time. Its morphological identification was confirmed by molecular-genetic analyses of ND4 sequences using specific primers. Aedes koreicus larvae were found in an artificial water reservoir together with the larvae of Culiseta longiareolata and Culex pipiens s.l. Aedes koreicus successfully overwintered in Almaty at low winter temperatures in 2018-2019. This suggests that the Ae. koreicus acclimation capacity is greater than it has been considered until now. We assume that Ae. koreicus will spread over the west and south of the Republic of Kazakhstan and territories of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan Republics bordering the Almaty region.
    Keywords:  Aedes koreicus; Distribution; Invasive mosquito species; Kazakhstan
  10. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(6): e0253597
      OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impact of anti-malaria biological larviciding with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis on non-primary target mosquito species in a rural African setting.METHODS: A total of 127 villages were distributed in three study arms, each with different larviciding options in public spaces: i) no treatment, ii) full or iii) guided intervention. Geographically close villages were grouped in clusters to avoid contamination between treated and untreated villages. Adult mosquitoes were captured in light traps inside and outside houses during the rainy seasons of a baseline and an intervention year. After enumeration, a negative binomial regression was used to determine the reductions achieved in the different mosquito species through larviciding.
    RESULTS: Malaria larviciding interventions showed only limited or no impact against Culex mosquitoes; by contrast, reductions of up to 34% were achieved against Aedes when all detected breeding sites were treated. Culex mosquitoes were captured in high abundance in semi-urban settings while more Aedes were found in rural villages.
    CONCLUSIONS: Future malaria larviciding programs should consider expanding onto the breeding habitats of other disease vectors, such as Aedes and Culex and evaluate their potential impact. Since the major cost components of such interventions are labor and transport, other disease vectors could be targeted at little additional cost.
  11. Acta Trop. 2021 Jun 12. pii: S0001-706X(21)00189-3. [Epub ahead of print] 106010
      During the 2020 West Nile virus (WNV) transmission season, Greece was the most affected EU Member State. More than one third of human cases occurred in Serres regional unit in northern Greece, which is characterized by the presence of a major wetland (Kerkini lake and Strimon river). A total of 2809 Culex pipiens mosquitoes collected in Serres were grouped into 70 pools and tested for WNV. Ten (14.3%) pools were found positive, and all WNV sequences belonged to the Central European subclade of WNV lineage 2. The first human case occurred in a village nearby the lake, and all following cases occurred across the connected river and its tributaries. Similar distribution presented the sites where WNV-positive mosquitoes were detected. The number of Culex spp. mosquitoes per trap per night was higher in 2020 than previous years (2017-2019). The spatial and temporal distribution of human cases and WNV-positive mosquitoes in 2020 in Serres regional unit suggest that the upsurge of the virus circulation was probably related with factors that affected the ecosystem of the wetland.
    Keywords:  Culex pipiens; Greece; West Nile virus; wetland
  12. Acta Trop. 2021 Jun 11. pii: S0001-706X(21)00188-1. [Epub ahead of print] 106009
      São Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world and has several characteristics that favor a diversity of urban and wild mosquitoes. Little is known about how variations in mosquito diversity and feeding preferences for different hosts in different vegetation strata can influence the risk of pathogen transmission to humans. We investigated vertical stratification of mosquitoes and its relationship with vertebrate hosts in environments with different degrees of conservation in two conservation units in the city of São Paulo. Adult mosquitoes were collected using CDC traps, aspiration and Shannon traps. After morphological identification, host blood in engorged females was analyzed by PCR with a vertebrate-specific primer set based on mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA of vertebrates commonly found in the two conservation units. Although a higher abundance of the species Anopheles cruzii and Culex nigripalpus was found in the canopy, blood not only from birds but also from humans and rodents was identified in these mosquitoes. In one of the units, Wyeomyia confusa and Limatus durhamii were found occupying mainly niches at ground level while Culex vaxus was frequently found in the canopy. Haemagogus leucocelaenus, the main vector of yellow fever, was found in low abundance at all collection points, particularly in the canopy. Species richness and composition tended to vary little between canopy and ground level in the same environment, but the abundance between canopy and ground level varied more depending on the species analyzed, the most abundant and frequent species exhibiting a predilection for the canopy. Even those mosquito species observed more frequently in the canopy did not show an association with hosts found in this stratum as most of the blood identified in these species was from humans, suggesting opportunist feeding behavior, i.e., feeding on the most readily available host in the environment. The two most common species in the study, An. cruzii and Cx. nigripalpus, may be able to act as bridge vectors for pathogens to circulate between the forest canopy and ground level.
    Keywords:  Anopheles cruzii; Cx. nigripalpus; blood-meal sources; vertical stratification
  13. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2021 Jun 14.
      Dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4 are transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which cause illness in an estimated 100 million annually. Although dengue viruses are endemic throughout El Salvador, very little is known about their ecology and epidemiology. The principal methods to prevent and reduce dengue cases are through vector control and by adoption of a vaccine. In addition, understanding the environmental and socioeconomic factors associated with dengue could contribute to case reduction by targeting prevention efforts in dengue hotspots. This study investigated environmental and socioeconomic factors associated with dengue cases in El Salvador. Dengue cases were obtained from 2011 to 2013 for 262 municipalities. The mean incidence was determined for each municipality for the 3 year period. Negative binomial regression models evaluated the relationship between dengue cases and the environmental factors elevation, forest coverage, mean annual temperature, and cumulative precipitation. Twelve socioeconomic and infrastructure variables and their relationship with dengue were also investigated by using negative binomial regression. A total of 29,764 confirmed dengue cases were reported. The mean dengue incidence for 2011-2013 was 135/100,000. The highest number of dengue cases occurred in San Salvador and surrounding municipalities, as well as in two additional cities, Santa Ana and San Miguel; the highest incidence of dengue cases (per 100,000) occurred in cities in the west and at the center of the country. Significant environmental variables associated with dengue included temperature, precipitation, and non-forested area. The socioeconomic variables poverty rate, illiteracy rate, and school attendance, and the infrastructure variables percent of homes with sanitary service, municipal trash service, electricity, and cement brick flooring, as well as population density, were also significant predictors of dengue. Understanding these environmental and socioeconomic factors and their relationship with dengue will help design and implement timely prevention strategies and vector control to reduce dengue in El Salvador.
    Keywords:  Aedes aegypti; GIS; deforestation; infrastructure; population density; urbanization
  14. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021 Jun 18. 15(6): e0009537
      Three key elements are the drivers of Aedes-borne disease: mosquito infestation, virus circulating, and susceptible human population. However, information on these aspects is not easily available in low- and middle-income countries. We analysed data on factors that influence one or more of those elements to study the first chikungunya epidemic in Rio de Janeiro city in 2016. Using spatio-temporal models, under the Bayesian framework, we estimated the association of those factors with chikungunya reported cases by neighbourhood and week. To estimate the minimum temperature effect in a non-linear fashion, we used a transfer function considering an instantaneous effect and propagation of a proportion of such effect to future times. The sociodevelopment index and the proportion of green areas (areas with agriculture, swamps and shoals, tree and shrub cover, and woody-grass cover) were included in the model with time-varying coefficients, allowing us to explore how their associations with the number of cases change throughout the epidemic. There were 13627 chikungunya cases in the study period. The sociodevelopment index presented the strongest association, inversely related to the risk of cases. Such association was more pronounced in the first weeks, indicating that socioeconomically vulnerable neighbourhoods were affected first and hardest by the epidemic. The proportion of green areas effect was null for most weeks. The temperature was directly associated with the risk of chikungunya for most neighbourhoods, with different decaying patterns. The temperature effect persisted longer where the epidemic was concentrated. In such locations, interventions should be designed to be continuous and to work in the long term. We observed that the role of the covariates changes over time. Therefore, time-varying coefficients should be widely incorporated when modelling Aedes-borne diseases. Our model contributed to the understanding of the spatio-temporal dynamics of an urban Aedes-borne disease introduction in a tropical metropolitan city.
  15. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(6): e0252852
      BACKGROUND: Dengue, the mosquito borne disease has become a growing public health threat in Bangladesh due to its gradual increasing morbidity and mortality since 2000. In 2019, the country witnessed the worst ever dengue outbreak. The present study was conducted to characterize the socio-economic factors and knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) status towards dengue among the people of Bangladesh.METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1,010 randomly selected respondents from nine different administrative regions of Bangladesh between July and November 2019. A structured questionnaire was used covering socio-demographic characteristics of the participants including their knowledge, awareness, treatment and practices regarding dengue fever. Factors associated with the knowledge and awareness of dengue were investigated separately, using multivariable logistic regression.
    RESULTS: Although majority (93.8%) of the respondents had heard about dengue, however, they had still misconceptions about Aedes breeding habitat. Around half of the study population (45.7%) had mistaken belief that Aedes can breed in dirty water and 43.1% knew that Aedes mosquito usually bites around sunrise and sunset. Fever indication was found in 36.6% of people which is the most common symptom of dengue. Among the socio-demographic variables, the level of education of the respondents was identified as an independent predictor for both knowledge (p<0.05) and awareness (p<0.05) of dengue. The preventive practice level was moderately less than the knowledge level though there was a significant association (p<0.05) existed between knowledge and preventive practices. Our study noted that TV/Radio is an effective predominant source of information about dengue fever.
    CONCLUSION: As dengue is emerging in Bangladesh, there is an urgent need to increase health promotion activities through campaigns for eliminating the misconception and considerable knowledge gaps about dengue.
  16. Mol Ecol. 2021 Jun 18.
      Here we report the first population genetic study to examine the impact of indoor residual spraying (IRS) on Plasmodium falciparum in humans. This study was conducted in an area of high seasonal malaria transmission in Bongo District, Ghana. IRS was implemented during the dry season (November - May) in three consecutive years between 2013 and 2015 to reduce transmission and attempt to bottleneck the parasite population in humans towards lower diversity with greater linkage disequilibrium. The study was done against a background of widespread use of long-lasting insecticidal nets, typical for contemporary malaria control in West Africa. Microsatellite genotyping with 10 loci was used to construct 392 P. falciparum multilocus infection haplotypes collected from two age-stratified cross-sectional surveys at the end of the wet seasons pre- and post-IRS. Three-rounds of IRS, under operational conditions, led to a >90% reduction in transmission intensity and a 35.7% reduction in the P. falciparum prevalence (P < 0.001). Despite these declines, population genetic analysis of the infection haplotypes revealed no dramatic changes with only a slight, but significant increase in genetic diversity (He : pre-IRS = 0.79 vs. post-IRS = 0.81, P = 0.048). Reduced relatedness of the parasite population (P < 0.001) was observed post-IRS, likely due to decreased opportunities for outcrossing. Spatiotemporal genetic differentiation between the pre- and post-IRS surveys (D = 0.0329 [95% CI: 0.0209-0.0473], P = 0.034) was identified. These data provide a genetic explanation for the resilience of P. falciparum to short-term IRS programmes in high-transmission settings in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Keywords:   Plasmodium falciparum ; genetic epidemiology; indoor residual spraying; malaria elimination; microsatellite genotyping; neutral genetic variation
  17. Int J Health Geogr. 2021 Jun 13. 20(1): 28
      BACKGROUND: Despite global intervention efforts, malaria remains a major public health concern in many parts of the world. Understanding geographic variation in malaria patterns and their environmental determinants can support targeting of malaria control and development of elimination strategies.METHODS: We used remotely sensed environmental data to analyze the influences of environmental risk factors on malaria cases caused by Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax from 2014 to 2017 in two geographic settings in Ethiopia. Geospatial datasets were derived from multiple sources and characterized climate, vegetation, land use, topography, and surface water. All data were summarized annually at the sub-district (kebele) level for each of the two study areas. We analyzed the associations between environmental data and malaria cases with Boosted Regression Tree (BRT) models.
    RESULTS: We found considerable spatial variation in malaria occurrence. Spectral indices related to land cover greenness (NDVI) and moisture (NDWI) showed negative associations with malaria, as the highest malaria rates were found in landscapes with low vegetation cover and moisture during the months that follow the rainy season. Climatic factors, including precipitation and land surface temperature, had positive associations with malaria. Settlement structure also played an important role, with different effects in the two study areas. Variables related to surface water, such as irrigated agriculture, wetlands, seasonally flooded waterbodies, and height above nearest drainage did not have strong influences on malaria.
    CONCLUSION: We found different relationships between malaria and environmental conditions in two geographically distinctive areas. These results emphasize that studies of malaria-environmental relationships and predictive models of malaria occurrence should be context specific to account for such differences.
  18. Malar J. 2021 Jun 13. 20(1): 269
      BACKGROUND: Considerable progress towards controlling malaria has been made in Papua New Guinea through the national malaria control programme's free distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets, improved diagnosis with rapid diagnostic tests and improved access to artemisinin combination therapy. Predictive prevalence maps can help to inform targeted interventions and monitor changes in malaria epidemiology over time as control efforts continue. This study aims to compare the predictive performance of prevalence maps generated using Bayesian decision network (BDN) models and multilevel logistic regression models (a type of generalized linear model, GLM) in terms of malaria spatial risk prediction accuracy.METHODS: Multilevel logistic regression models and BDN models were developed using 2010/2011 malaria prevalence survey data collected from 77 randomly selected villages to determine associations of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax prevalence with precipitation, temperature, elevation, slope (terrain aspect), enhanced vegetation index and distance to the coast. Predictive performance of multilevel logistic regression and BDN models were compared by cross-validation methods.
    RESULTS: Prevalence of P. falciparum, based on results obtained from GLMs was significantly associated with precipitation during the 3 driest months of the year, June to August (β = 0.015; 95% CI = 0.01-0.03), whereas P. vivax infection was associated with elevation (β = - 0.26; 95% CI = - 0.38 to - 3.04), precipitation during the 3 driest months of the year (β = 0.01; 95% CI = - 0.01-0.02) and slope (β = 0.12; 95% CI = 0.05-0.19). Compared with GLM model performance, BDNs showed improved accuracy in prediction of the prevalence of P. falciparum (AUC = 0.49 versus 0.75, respectively) and P. vivax (AUC = 0.56 versus 0.74, respectively) on cross-validation.
    CONCLUSIONS: BDNs provide a more flexible modelling framework than GLMs and may have a better predictive performance when developing malaria prevalence maps due to the multiple interacting factors that drive malaria prevalence in different geographical areas. When developing malaria prevalence maps, BDNs may be particularly useful in predicting prevalence where spatial variation in climate and environmental drivers of malaria transmission exists, as is the case in Papua New Guinea.
  19. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2021 Jun 14. pii: S1477-8939(21)00166-6. [Epub ahead of print] 102125
      BACKGROUND: . Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) are a unique expatriate population at risk for dengue. Previous studies examined travelers or lacked demographic information about expatriates. We examined dengue incidence among PCVs before and after deployment of an electronic medical record (EMR) to assess temporal and demographic factors.METHODS: . Dengue cases within Peace Corps' Epidemiologic Surveillance System from 2000-2019 were identified using a standard case definition, and two timeframes were compared: pre-EMR 2000-2015 and post-EMR 2016-2019.
    RESULTS: . Annual infections occurred in a roughly 3-year cyclic pattern from 2007-2019. Incidence rate decreased from 1.35 cases per 100 dengue Volunteer-years (95% CI 1.28-1.41) in 2000-2015 to 1.25 cases (95% CI 1.10-1.41) in 2016-2019. Among PCVs who served from 2016-2019, the majority of infections occurred in females and 20-29 year olds, and 7% were medically evacuated. Among PCVs who served from 2015-2019, 21% were hospitalized in-country.
    CONCLUSIONS: . Among PCVs, a non-significant decrease in dengue incidence occurred from 2000-2015 to 2016-2019. Annual infection rates peaked every three years, offering opportunities for targeted prevention efforts. Dengue infection in PCVs appears to mimic the overall demographic of Peace Corps. Expatriates like PCVs are at an increased risk for dengue infection compared to short-term travelers.
    Keywords:  Arboviral Disease; Dengue; Epidemiology; Peace Corps Volunteers; Surveillance
  20. J R Soc Interface. 2021 Jun;18(179): 20201006
      Transmission of dengue fever depends on a complex interplay of human, climate and mosquito dynamics, which often change in time and space. It is well known that its disease dynamics are highly influenced by multiple factors including population susceptibility to infection as well as by microclimates: small-area climatic conditions which create environments favourable for the breeding and survival of mosquitoes. Here, we present a novel machine learning dengue forecasting approach, which, dynamically in time and space, identifies local patterns in weather and population susceptibility to make epidemic predictions at the city level in Brazil, months ahead of the occurrence of disease outbreaks. Weather-based predictions are improved when information on population susceptibility is incorporated, indicating that immunity is an important predictor neglected by most dengue forecast models. Given the generalizability of our methodology to any location or input data, it may prove valuable for public health decision-making aimed at mitigating the effects of seasonal dengue outbreaks in locations globally.
    Keywords:  dengue; ensemble; forecasting