As countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) increasingly focus their malaria control and elimination efforts on reducing forest-related transmission, greater understanding of the relationship between deforestation and malaria incidence will be essential for programs to assess and meet their 2030 elimination goals. Leveraging village-level health facility surveillance data and forest cover data in a spatio-temporal modeling framework, we found evidence that deforestation is associated with short-term increases, but long-term decreases in confirmed malaria case incidence in Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). We identified strong associations with deforestation measured within 30 km of villages but not with deforestation in the near (10 km) and immediate (1 km) vicinity. Results appear driven by deforestation in densely forested areas and were more pronounced for infections with Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) than for Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax). These findings highlight the influence of forest activities on malaria transmission in the GMS.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5 and for Tables 1, 2 and 3.
Global Forest Change 2000-201810.1126/science.1244693.
- Francois Rerolle
- Emily Dantzer
- Andrew A Lover
- Bouasy Hongvanthong
- Hugh JW Sturrock
- Adam Bennett
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: This study was approved by the National Ethics Committee for Health Research at the Lao Ministry of Health (Approval #2016-014; 8/22/2016) and by the UCSF ethical review board (Approvals #16-19649 and #17-22577). The informed consent process was consistent with local norms, and all study areas had a consultation meeting with, and approvals from, village elders. All participants provided informed written consent; caregivers provided consent for all children under 18, and all children aged 10 and above also provided consent directly. The study was conducted according to the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki of October 2002.
- Ben S Cooper, Mahidol University, Thailand
© 2021, Rerolle et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
How does cutting down forests influence the spread of malaria?
Mobile genetic elements (MGEs) are agents of horizontal gene transfer in bacteria, but can also be vertically inherited by daughter cells. Establishing the dynamics that led to contemporary patterns of MGEs in bacterial genomes is central to predicting the emergence and evolution of novel and resistant pathogens. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clonal-complex (CC) 398 is the dominant MRSA in European livestock and a growing cause of human infections. Previous studies have identified three categories of MGEs whose presence or absence distinguishes livestock-associated CC398 from a closely related and less antibiotic-resistant human-associated population. Here, we fully characterise the evolutionary dynamics of these MGEs using a collection of 1180 CC398 genomes, sampled from livestock and humans, over 27 years. We find that the emergence of livestock-associated CC398 coincided with the acquisition of a Tn916 transposon carrying a tetracycline resistance gene, which has been stably inherited for 57 years. This was followed by the acquisition of a type V SCCmec that carries methicillin, tetracycline, and heavy metal resistance genes, which has been maintained for 35 years, with occasional truncations and replacements with type IV SCCmec. In contrast, a class of prophages that carry a human immune evasion gene cluster and that are largely absent from livestock-associated CC398 have been repeatedly gained and lost in both human- and livestock-associated CC398. These contrasting dynamics mean that when livestock-associated MRSA is transmitted to humans, adaptation to the human host outpaces loss of antibiotic resistance. In addition, the stable inheritance of resistance-associated MGEs suggests that the impact of ongoing reductions in antibiotic and zinc oxide use in European farms on livestock-associated MRSA will be slow to be realised.