Host species diversity and the transmission of vector-borne disease in low income countries

Ferguson, H. , Brock, P. and Torr, S.J. (2018) Host species diversity and the transmission of vector-borne disease in low income countries. In: Roche, B., Broutin, H. and Simard, F. (eds.) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases: effective strategies for pathogen control and public health management in low-income countries. Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 180-197. ISBN 9780198789833 (doi: 10.1093/oso/9780198789833.003.0012)

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The term “Dilution effect” has been coined to describe scenarios under which pathogen transmission is reduced as host diversity increases. Theoretical frameworks have been developed to predict conditions under which Dilution effects may arise; with vector-borne diseases (VBDs) being highlighted as particularly susceptible to host diversity. However to date, empirical investigation of dilution effects has been restricted to only a few temperate VBD systems. We review the potential contribution of dilution effects for VBDs of greatest public health importance in low income, typically tropical, countries. Using examples of Dengue, human malaria in Africa, zoonotic malaria in Asia, Trypanosomiasis in Africa and Chagas Disease in South America, we discuss how the underlying ecology of pathogen and vector species combine to determine the response of the disease system to biodiversity. We review case examples demonstrating how manipulation of host species diversity, intended or accidental, has altered human exposure risk. This analysis reveals little generality, with multiple, sometimes conflicting responses arising even within single disease systems. We caution that attempts to control VBDs by manipulating host diversity are unlikely to succeed, and may even be detrimental, without having a very detailed understanding of the local ecology of the specific VBD and environmental setting.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ferguson, Professor Heather and Brock, Dr Patrick
Authors: Ferguson, H., Brock, P., and Torr, S.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Publisher:Oxford University Press
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
538424Defining the biomedical, environmental and social risk factors for human infection with Plasmodium knowlesi (a.k.a. 'Monkeybar')Heather FergusonMedical Research Council (MRC)G1100796/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED