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Disease Mapping Workshop
The next in the Disease Ecology Workshop series will be presented via Zoom. Zoom access information will be sent the morning of the event to those who RSVP.
“The relative importance of environmental factors and host range for the global distribution of a multi-host, environmentally persistent, zoonotic parasite,” presented by members of the Disease Mapping Working Group.
Abstract: Emerging zoonotic parasites are a growing public health concern and predicting their risk to human and wildlife populations is an increasing priority. Many zoonotic parasites have complex life-cycles, which makes their transmission and persistence especially difficult to predict. Echinococcus multilocularis, one such zoonotic parasite, is not only shared across a wide range of host species but is also transmitted via the environment; understanding the relative importance of host ranges and environmental factors for parasite presence can help predict transmission and human infection risk across the large geographic range of this parasite. To better understand the drivers of E. multilocularis distribution, we assembled the largest existing database of georeferenced records of E. multilocularis presence and extracted covariate data for all records from remotely sensed and publicly available datasets of environmental characteristics and host ranges. Machine learning, density-ratio estimation, models were fit to parasite presence records and we used a permutation approach to estimate the relative importance of covariates to model performance. Using this model, we produced a global risk-map for E. multilocularis infection. This study not only provides an infection risk-map of use to public health professionals but also sheds light on the relative importance of host ranges and environmental factors to the transmission of a complex, multi-host parasite.