A major public health challenge is to better understand and predict how anthropogenic environmental changes affect vector-borne diseases. In response to rapidly expanding human populations many countries in the Middle East are developing unprecedented large-scale agricultural irrigation systems to increase food production. In Upper Egypt, there are major concerns that projects underway to transform desert environments for irrigated agriculture in the Old Nile Valley (about 70,000 acres) and in the Toshka Valley (nearly 1 million acres) will substantially increase the risks of important mosquito-borne diseases. These projects are creating new suitable habitats for vector populations and facilitating the migration and establishment of large human and animal populations. This project addresses the need to determine how land use and the large-scale transformation of desert environments for irrigated agriculture in Upper Egypt affects the risk and transmission dynamics of the well-established West Nile virus (WNV) and the epidemic potential of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and malaria. There are 3 specific aims: 1) determine how land use and the transformation of desert environments for irrigated agriculture affect the ecology and behavior of mosquito species and their potential for pathogen transmission, 2) evaluate the extent of WNV in birds and RVFV in domestic livestock and assess how geographic heterogeneity in animal host diversity and relative abundance affects the potential for pathogen transmission, and 3) employ eco-epidemiological modeling approaches to assess the impact of environmental changes on the complex dynamics and risks of mosquito-borne diseases. This project represents a unique opportunity to prospectively quantify vector-host-pathogen population dynamics in the context of unprecedented large-scale environmental perturbations in desert environments. The outcomes of this project will contribute to integrated disease surveillance and control programs in Egypt as well as other areas of the Middle East.
This project will investigate how land use and the large-scale transformation of desert environments for irrigated agriculture in Upper Egypt affects the risk and transmission dynamics of important mosquito-borne diseases including West Nile virus, Rift Valley fever virus, and malaria. By identifying high-risk areas and underlying ecological mechanisms affecting interactions between the environment and populations of vectors, pathogens, animal reservoirs, and human hosts, this project will contribute to the public health goal of establishing effective vector-borne disease surveillance and control programs in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.
|Barhoumi, Walid; Qualls, Whitney A; Archer, Reginald S et al. (2015) Irrigation in the arid regions of Tunisia impacts the abundance and apparent density of sand fly vectors of Leishmania infantum. Acta Trop 141:73-8|
|Drake, John M; Beier, John C (2014) Ecological niche and potential distribution of Anopheles arabiensis in Africa in 2050. Malar J 13:213|
|Lizzi, Karina M; Qualls, Whitney A; Brown, Scott C et al. (2014) Expanding Integrated Vector Management to promote healthy environments. Trends Parasitol 30:394-400|
|Chamchod, Farida; Cantrell, Robert Stephen; Cosner, Chris et al. (2014) A modeling approach to investigate epizootic outbreaks and enzootic maintenance of Rift Valley fever virus. Bull Math Biol 76:2052-72|
|Naranjo, Diana P; Qualls, Whitney A; Jurado, Hugo et al. (2014) Vector control programs in Saint Johns County, Florida and Guayas, Ecuador: successes and barriers to integrated vector management. BMC Public Health 14:674|
|Conley, Amy K; Fuller, Douglas O; Haddad, Nabil et al. (2014) Modeling the distribution of the West Nile and Rift Valley Fever vector Culex pipiens in arid and semi-arid regions of the Middle East and North Africa. Parasit Vectors 7:289|
|Qualls, Whitney A; Muller, Gunter C; Revay, Edita E et al. (2014) Evaluation of attractive toxic sugar bait (ATSB)-Barrier for control of vector and nuisance mosquitoes and its effect on non-target organisms in sub-tropical environments in Florida. Acta Trop 131:104-10|
|Chamchod, Farida; Beier, John C (2013) Modeling Plasmodium vivax: relapses, treatment, seasonality, and G6PD deficiency. J Theor Biol 316:25-34|
|Muturi, Ephantus J; Mwangangi, Joseph M; Beier, John C et al. (2013) Ecology and behavior of Anopheles arabiensis in relation to agricultural practices in central Kenya. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 29:222-30|
|Gao, Daozhou; Cosner, Chris; Cantrell, Robert Stephen et al. (2013) Modeling the spatial spread of Rift Valley fever in Egypt. Bull Math Biol 75:523-42|
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