Authors: Mark Deka*, Texas State University - San Marcos
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Africa
Keywords: Disease Risk Mapping, Ecological Niche Modeling
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
Tungiasis (sand flea disease) is a cutaneous parasitic disease caused by the flea Tunga pentrans. The condition has a broad geographic range and is found in tropical and sub-tropical zones in resource-poor communities throughout Africa, Central America, and South America. In East Africa, Tungiasis is classified as a neglected tropical disease (NTD) with the potential of causing physical and emotional suffering through secondary infection, disfigurement, and social stigmatization. This study investigates for the first time Tungiasis disease transmission risk at multiple scales of analysis with ecological niche modeling, and a theoretical foundation based on the BAM (Biotic, Abiotic, Movement) framework. Results indicate that the potential disease transmission risk in East Africa encompasses approximately 995,538 km^2 (19% of the study area). It is concluded that the potential geography of Tungiasis is governed interchangeably by a variety of biotic and abiotic factors. Environmental variables of high importance at all scales include cattle, sheep, chicken, and human population densities; as well as, areas of low accessibility to urban areas, the mean dry season NDVI, annual mean temperature, cropland biomes, and the regional land surface temperature (LST). By contrast, socioeconomic covariates with high contribution include neo-natal mortality, child stunting, and under-five child mortality rates. This study should contribute to the current needs of national public health surveillance programs in East Africa and serve as a guideline for future exercises in polyparasitic risk mapping.