Landscape attributes governing local transmission of an endemic zoonosis: rabies virus in domestic dogs

Brunker, K. , Lemey, P., Marston, D. A., Fooks, A. R., Lugelo, A., Ngeleja, C., Hampson, K. and Biek, R. (2018) Landscape attributes governing local transmission of an endemic zoonosis: rabies virus in domestic dogs. Molecular Ecology, 27(3), pp. 773-788. (doi: 10.1111/mec.14470) (PMID:29274171) (PMCID:PMC5900915)

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Landscape heterogeneity plays an important role in disease spread and persistence, but quantifying landscape influences and their scale dependence is challenging. Studies have focused on how environmental features or global transport networks influence pathogen invasion and spread, but their influence on local transmission dynamics that underpin the persistence of endemic diseases remains unexplored. Bayesian phylogeographic frameworks that incorporate spatial heterogeneities are promising tools for analysing linked epidemiological, environmental and genetic data. Here, we extend these methodological approaches to decipher the relative contribu- tion and scale-dependent effects of landscape influences on the transmission of endemic rabies virus in Serengeti district, Tanzania (area ~4,900 km2). Utilizing detailed epidemiological data and 152 complete viral genomes collected between 2004 and 2013, we show that the localized presence of dogs but not their density is the most important determinant of diffusion, implying that culling will be ineffec- tive for rabies control. Rivers and roads acted as barriers and facilitators to viral spread, respectively, and vaccination impeded diffusion despite variable annual cov- erage. Notably, we found that landscape effects were scale-dependent: rivers were barriers and roads facilitators on larger scales, whereas the distribution of dogs was important for rabies dispersal across multiple scales. This nuanced understanding of the spatial processes that underpin rabies transmission can be exploited for targeted control at the scale where it will have the greatest impact. Moreover, this research demonstrates how current phylogeographic frameworks can be adapted to improve our understanding of endemic disease dynamics at different spatial scales.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Phylogeography, landscape heterogeneity, rabies, spatial diffusion, endemic zoonotic disease, domestic dog.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hampson, Professor Katie and Biek, Professor Roman and Brunker, Dr Kirstyn
Authors: Brunker, K., Lemey, P., Marston, D. A., Fooks, A. R., Lugelo, A., Ngeleja, C., Hampson, K., and Biek, R.
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Molecular Ecology
ISSN (Online):1365-294X
Published Online:23 December 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Molecular Ecology 27(3):773-788
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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632234Funding SchemesAnna DominiczakWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)105614/Z/14/ZRI CARDIOVASCULAR & MEDICAL SCIENCES
508041Understanding how a complex intervention works: designing large-scale vaccination programsDaniel HaydonMedical Research Council (MRC)G0901135RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED