Is there evidence of sustained human-mosquito-human transmission of the zoonotic malaria Plasmodium knowlesi? A systematic literature review

Ruiz Cuenca, P., Key, S., Lindblade, K., Vythilingam, I., Drakeley, C. and Fornace, K. (2022) Is there evidence of sustained human-mosquito-human transmission of the zoonotic malaria Plasmodium knowlesi? A systematic literature review. Malaria Journal, 21, 89. (doi: 10.1186/s12936-022-04110-z) (PMID:35300703) (PMCID:PMC8929260)

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Abstract

Background: The zoonotic malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi has emerged across Southeast Asia and is now the main cause of malaria in humans in Malaysia. A critical priority for P. knowlesi surveillance and control is understanding whether transmission is entirely zoonotic or is also occurring through human-mosquito-human transmission. Methods: A systematic literature review was performed to evaluate existing evidence which refutes or supports the occurrence of sustained human-mosquito-human transmission of P. knowlesi. Possible evidence categories and study types which would support or refute non-zoonotic transmission were identified and ranked. A literature search was conducted on Medline, EMBASE and Web of Science using a broad search strategy to identify any possible published literature. Results were synthesized using the Synthesis Without Meta-analysis (SWiM) framework, using vote counting to combine the evidence within specific categories. Results: Of an initial 7,299 studies screened, 131 studies were included within this review: 87 studies of P. knowlesi prevalence in humans, 14 studies in non-human primates, 13 studies in mosquitoes, and 29 studies with direct evidence refuting or supporting non-zoonotic transmission. Overall, the evidence showed that human-mosquito-human transmission is biologically possible, but there is limited evidence of widespread occurrence in endemic areas. Specific areas of research were identified that require further attention, notably quantitative analyses of potential transmission dynamics, epidemiological and entomological surveys, and ecological studies into the sylvatic cycle of the disease. Conclusion: There are key questions about P. knowlesi that remain within the areas of research that require more attention. These questions have significant implications for malaria elimination and eradication programs. This paper considers limited but varied research and provides a methodological framework for assessing the likelihood of different transmission patterns for emerging zoonotic diseases.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fornace, Dr Kimberly
Authors: Ruiz Cuenca, P., Key, S., Lindblade, K., Vythilingam, I., Drakeley, C., and Fornace, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Malaria Journal
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1475-2875
ISSN (Online):1475-2875
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Malaria Journal 21: 89
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
310866Socio-ecological dynamics of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases in changing landscapes: implications for surveillance and controlKimberly FornaceWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)221963/Z/20/ZInstitute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine