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Linking Climate to Incidence of Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (L. major) in Pre-Saharan North Africa
Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, Code 618, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland, MD 20771, USA
Laboratory of Ecology & Environment, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Faculty of Medicine, Sidi Bel Abbes 22000, Algeria
Florida International University, Florida, FL 33199, USA
ClimAdapt, LLC, Los Altos CA 94022, USA
Earth Resources Technology Inc., Laurel, MD 20707, USA
Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, College Park, MD 20740, USA
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, MD 20814, USA
Hydrometeorological Institute of Training and Research, Oran 31025, Algeria
Laboratory of Hydrobiology, Ecotoxicology and Sanitation, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Establishment of Local Public Health, Saida 20000, Algeria
Directorate of Epidemiology and disease Control, Ministry of Health, Rabat 10010, Morocco
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 May 2013; in revised form: 12 July 2013 / Accepted: 13 July 2013 / Published: 31 July 2013
Abstract: Shifts in surface climate may have changed the dynamic of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) in the pre-Saharan zones of North Africa. Caused by Leishmania major, this form multiplies in the body of rodents serving as reservoirs of the disease. The parasite is then transmitted to human hosts by the bite of a Phlebotomine sand fly (Diptera: Psychodidae) that was previously fed by biting an infected reservoir. We examine the seasonal and interannual dynamics of the incidence of this ZCL as a function of surface climate indicators in two regions covering a large area of the semi-arid Pre-Saharan North Africa. Results suggest that in this area, changes in climate may have initiated a trophic cascade that resulted in an increase in ZCL incidence. We find the correlation between the rainy season precipitation and the same year Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to be strong for both regions while the number of cases of ZCL incidence lags the precipitation and NDVI by 2 years. The zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis seasonal dynamic appears to be controlled by minimum temperatures and presents a 2-month lag between the reported infection date and the presumed date when the infection actually occurred. The decadal increase in the number of ZCL occurrence in the region suggests that changes in climate increased minimum temperatures sufficiently and created conditions suitable for endemicity that did not previously exist. We also find that temperatures above a critical range suppress ZCL incidence by limiting the vector’s reproductive activity.
Keywords: cutaneous leishmaniasis; surface climate indicators; incidence; climate; NDVI; North Africa
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Bounoua, L.; Kahime, K.; Houti, L.; Blakey, T.; Ebi, K.L.; Zhang, P.; Imhoff, M.L.; Thome, K.J.; Dudek, C.; Sahabi, S.A.; Messouli, M.; Makhlouf, B.; Laamrani, A.E.; Boumezzough, A. Linking Climate to Incidence of Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (L. major) in Pre-Saharan North Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 3172-3191.
Bounoua L, Kahime K, Houti L, Blakey T, Ebi KL, Zhang P, Imhoff ML, Thome KJ, Dudek C, Sahabi SA, Messouli M, Makhlouf B, Laamrani AE, Boumezzough A. Linking Climate to Incidence of Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (L. major) in Pre-Saharan North Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(8):3172-3191.
Bounoua, Lahouari; Kahime, Kholoud; Houti, Leila; Blakey, Tara; Ebi, Kristie L.; Zhang, Ping; Imhoff, Marc L.; Thome, Kurtis J.; Dudek, Claire; Sahabi, Salah A.; Messouli, Mohammed; Makhlouf, Baghdad; Laamrani, Abderrahmane E.; Boumezzough, Ali. 2013. "Linking Climate to Incidence of Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (L. major) in Pre-Saharan North Africa." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 8: 3172-3191.