Mapping the zoonotic niche of Lassa fever in Africa

by Adrian Q. N. Mylne, David M. Pigott, Joshua Longbottom et al.
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg (2015) 109 (8): 483-492 – First published online: June 17, 2015

10 pp. 893 kB
http://trstmh.oxfordjournals.org/content/109/8/483.full.pdf+html8.cover

Lassa fever is a viral haemorrhagic illness responsible for disease outbreaks across West Africa. It is a zoonosis, with the primary reservoir species identified as the Natal multimammate mouse, Mastomys natalensis. The host is distributed across sub-Saharan Africa while the virus’ range appears to be restricted to West Africa. Using a species distribution model, the locations of confirmed human and animal infections with Lassa virus (LASV) were used to generate a probabilistic surface of zoonotic transmission potential across sub-Saharan Africa. Combining this zoonotic niche map with detailed patient travel histories can aid differential diagnoses of febrile illnesses, enabling a more rapid response in providing care and reducing the risk of onward transmission.

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