Landscape drives zoonotic malaria prevalence in non-human primates

Johnson, E. et al. (2023) Landscape drives zoonotic malaria prevalence in non-human primates. eLife, (doi: 10.7554/eLife.88616) (Early Online Publication)

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In wildlife and humans, parasite infection has been linked to land conversion and fragmented habitat. However, zoonotic disease dynamics in wildlife hosts are rarely quantified at macroecological scales due to the lack of systematic surveys. Non-human primates (NHPs) host Plasmodium knowlesi, a zoonotic malaria with increasing public health impact and the main barrier to malaria elimination in Southeast Asia. Understanding of regional P. knowlesi infection dynamics in wildlife is limited. Here, we systematically assemble reports of NHP P. knowlesi and investigate how landscape impacts prevalence. Meta-analysis of 6322 NHPs from 148 sites highlights that prevalence is heterogeneous across Southeast Asia, with low overall prevalence and high estimates for Malaysian Borneo. Broadly, we find that regions exhibiting higher prevalence in NHPs overlap with human infection hotspots. By assembling remote sensing data and fitting generalised linear mixed models to prevalence at multiple spatial scales, we identify novel relationships between P. knowlesi in NHPs and forested landscapes. Preliminary evidence suggests that higher prevalence may be contingent on habitat complexity, which might explain geographic variation in parasite burden. Findings address critical gaps in understanding P. knowlesi epidemiology and indicate that prevalence in simian reservoirs may be a key spatial driver of human spillover risk.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnson, Miss Emilia and Fornace, Dr Kimberly and Matthiopoulos, Professor Jason and Nelli, Dr Luca
Authors: Johnson, E., Kumar Sharma, R. S., Cuenca, P. R., Byrne, I., Salgado-Lynn, M., Lin, L. C., Zulkifli, N., Mohd Saidi, N. D., Drakeley, C., Matthiopoulos, J., Nelli, L., and Fornace, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:eLife
Publisher:eLife Sciences Publications
ISSN (Online):2050-084X
Published Online:13 July 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 Johnson et al.
First Published:First published in eLife 2023
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