Dengue and chikungunya are increasing global public health concerns due to their rapid geographical spread and increasing disease burden. Knowledge of the contemporary distribution of their shared vectors, Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus remains incomplete and is complicated by an ongoing range expansion fuelled by increased global trade and travel. Mapping the global distribution of these vectors and the geographical determinants of their ranges is essential for public health planning. Here we compile the largest contemporary database for both species and pair it with relevant environmental variables predicting their global distribution. We show Aedes distributions to be the widest ever recorded; now extensive in all continents, including North America and Europe. These maps will help define the spatial limits of current autochthonous transmission of dengue and chikungunya viruses. It is only with this kind of rigorous entomological baseline that we can hope to project future health impacts of these viruses.
- Mark Jit, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Public Health England, United Kingdom
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Closing in on Dengue fever and chikungunya fever.
Adulis, located on the Red Sea coast in present-day Eritrea, was a bustling trading centre between the first and seventh centuries CE. Several classical geographers--Agatharchides of Cnidus, Pliny the Elder, Strabo-noted the value of Adulis to Greco--Roman Egypt, particularly as an emporium for living animals, including baboons (Papio spp.). Though fragmentary, these accounts predict the Adulite origins of mummified baboons in Ptolemaic catacombs, while inviting questions on the geoprovenance of older (Late Period) baboons recovered from Gabbanat el-Qurud ('Valley of the Monkeys'), Egypt. Dated to ca. 800-540 BCE, these animals could extend the antiquity of Egyptian-Adulite trade by as much as five centuries. Previously, Dominy et al. (2020) used stable istope analysis to show that two New Kingdom specimens of P. hamadryas originate from the Horn of Africa. Here, we report the complete mitochondrial genomes from a mummified baboon from Gabbanat el-Qurud and 14 museum specimens with known provenance together with published georeferenced mitochondrial sequence data. Phylogenetic assignment connects the mummified baboon to modern populations of Papio hamadryas in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and eastern Sudan. This result, assuming geographical stability of phylogenetic clades, corroborates Greco-Roman historiographies by pointing toward present-day Eritrea, and by extension Adulis, as a source of baboons for Late Period Egyptians. It also establishes geographic continuity with baboons from the fabled Land of Punt (Dominy et al., 2020), giving weight to speculation that Punt and Adulis were essentially the same trading centres separated by a thousand years of history.