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Climate Influence on Emerging Risk Areas for Rift Valley Fever Epidemics in Tanzania

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  • 1 Tukuyu Research Centre, National Institute for Medical Research, Tukuyu, Tanzania;
  • | 2 Headquarters, National Institute for Medical Research, Dar es salaam, Tanzania;
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a climate-related arboviral infection of animals and humans. Climate is thought to represent a threat toward emerging risk areas for RVF epidemics globally. The objective of this study was to evaluate influence of climate on distribution of suitable breeding habitats for Culex pipiens complex, potential mosquito vector responsible for transmission and distribution of disease epidemics risk areas in Tanzania. We used ecological niche models to estimate potential distribution of disease risk areas based on vectors and disease co-occurrence data approach. Climatic variables for the current and future scenarios were used as model inputs. Changes in mosquito vectors’ habitat suitability in relation to disease risk areas were estimated. We used partial receiver operating characteristic and the area under the curves approach to evaluate model predictive performance and significance. Habitat suitability for Cx. pipiens complex indicated broad-scale potential for change and shift in the distribution of the vectors and disease for both 2020 and 2050 climatic scenarios. Risk areas indicated more intensification in the areas surrounding Lake Victoria and northeastern part of the country through 2050 climate scenario. Models show higher probability of emerging risk areas spreading toward the western parts of Tanzania from northeastern areas and decrease in the southern part of the country. Results presented here identified sites for consideration to guide surveillance and control interventions to reduce risk of RVF disease epidemics in Tanzania. A collaborative approach is recommended to develop and adapt climate-related disease control and prevention strategies.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Clement N. Mweya, Tukuyu Research Centre, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), P.O. Box 538, Tukuyu, Tanzania. E-mail: cmweya@nimr.or.tz

Financial support: The study did not receive specific funding; it was partially supported by the Health Research User’s Trust Fund (HRUTF) of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) through capacity development strategy to CNM.

Authors’ addresses: Clement N. Mweya, Tukuyu Medical Research Centre, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Tukuyu, Tanzania, and Department of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Morogoro, Tanzania, E-mail: cmweya@nimr.or.tz. Leonard E. G. Mboera, Headquarters, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, E-mail: lmboera@nimr.or.tz. Sharadhuli I. Kimera, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Morogoro, Tanzania, E-mail: sikimera@suanet.ac.tz.

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