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Mapping monkeypox transmission risk through time and space in the Congo Basin

January 1, 2013

Monkeypox is a major public health concern in the Congo Basin area, with changing patterns of human case occurrences reported in recent years. Whether this trend results from better surveillance and detection methods, reduced proportions of vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated human populations, or changing environmental conditions remains unclear. Our objective is to examine potential correlations between environment and transmission of monkeypox events in the Congo Basin. We created ecological niche models based on human cases reported in the Congo Basin by the World Health Organization at the end of the smallpox eradication campaign, in relation to remotely-sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index datasets from the same time period. These models predicted independent spatial subsets of monkeypox occurrences with high confidence; models were then projected onto parallel environmental datasets for the 2000s to create present-day monkeypox suitability maps. Recent trends in human monkeypox infection are associated with broad environmental changes across the Congo Basin. Our results demonstrate that ecological niche models provide useful tools for identification of areas suitable for transmission, even for poorly-known diseases like monkeypox.

Publication Year 2013
Title Mapping monkeypox transmission risk through time and space in the Congo Basin
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0074816
Authors Yoshinori J. Nakazawa, R. Ryan Lash, Darin S. Carroll, Inger K. Damon, Kevin L. Karem, Mary G. Reynolds, Jorge E. Osorio, Tonie E. Rocke, Jean Malekani, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Pierre Formenty, A. Townsend Peterson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title PLoS ONE
Index ID 70159836
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center