Environmental changes in Africa and tsetse habitat fragmentation: Epidemiological consequences and perspectives for control
|Project type:||Long Term RTD|
|Time frame:||2005 - 2008|
|Funding agency:||Wellcome Trust Fund|
|Geographic keyword: Africa | Western Africa | Southern Africa|
|General keyword: STIS | Remote sensing | Vegetation pattern analysis | Disease modeling|
|Specific keyword: Change detection | Biotope fragmentation | African animal trypanosomiasis | Tsetse|
The epidemiology of tsetse-transmitted human or livestock trypanosomiasis is to a large extend determined by tsetse density, infection rate and host preference. All three contributing factors vary between tsetse populations and within a tsetse population may, often due to differences in the well-being of the tsetse population, vary in time and space. A major factor, contributing to tsetse population stress is human encroachment and concomitant fragmentation of tsetse habitat as a result of the introduction and expansion of mixed farming systems. Understanding the impact of habitat fragmentation on the tsetse population may contribute to the development of more effective control strategies.
Riparian and savannah tsetse species play the major role in disease transmission. Therefore, the project will identify study areas in West and southern Africa, where each group is predominant. In those study areas, the fragmentation of riparian vegetation and savannah woodland will be quantified and qualified using environmental and remotely sensed data. Study sites with different degrees of fragmentation will be identified and the tsetse and livestock populations will be monitored. Special attention will go to parameters that can be used to develop population dynamics and disease transmission models. The models will be used to determine (i) the well-being, dynamics and vulnerability of tsetse sub-populations in fragmented habitats, and (ii) the infection rate of hosts and vectors and the related disease transmission risk. Furthermore, analyses of genetic diversity and gene flow between tsetse populations in habitat fragments will make it possible to determine the effect of different levels of fragmentation on the tsetseï¿½s dispersal capacity. This may result in the identification of isolated tsetse populations. Using the findings of the field studies various control approaches will be tested and their appropriateness assessed.
The outcomes of the study will be translated into practical guidelines that will facilitate the selection of priority areas for control and the most appropriate control method(s). The guidelines will be transferred to the beneficiaries.
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