Estimating the geographic distribution of human Tanapox and potential reservoirs using ecological niche modelingReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Health Geographics

, 13:34

First Online: 25 September 2014Received: 13 June 2014Accepted: 27 August 2014DOI: 10.1186-1476-072X-13-34

Cite this article as: Monroe, B.P., Nakazawa, Y.J., Reynolds, M.G. et al. Int J Health Geogr 2014 13: 34. doi:10.1186-1476-072X-13-34


BackgroundTanapox virus is a zoonotic infection that causes mild febrile illness and one to several nodular skin lesions. The disease is endemic in parts of Africa. The principal reservoir for the virus that causes Tanapox is unknown, but has been hypothesized to be a non-human primate. This study employs ecological niche modeling ENM to determine areas of tropical Africa suitable for the occurrence of human Tanapox and a list of hypothetical reservoirs. The resultant niche model will be a useful tool to guide medical surveillance activities in the region.

MethodsThis study uses the Desktop GARP software to predict regions where human Tanapox might be expected to occur based on historical human case locations and environmental data. Additional modeling of primate species, using occurrence data from museum records was performed to determine suitable disease reservoirs.

ResultsThe final ENM predicts a potential distribution of Tanapox over much of equatorial Africa, exceeding the borders of Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo DRC where it has been historically reported. Five genera of non-human primates were found to be potential reservoir taxa.

ConclusionsValidity testing suggests the model created here is robust p < 0.04. Several genera of primates were identified as having ENMs overlapping with that of Tanapox and are suggested as potential reservoirs, mainly members of the Genus Cercopithecus. The ENM modeling technique has several limitations and results should be interpreted with caution. This study may increase knowledge and engage further research in this neglected disease.

KeywordsPoxvirus Environmental niche modeling Disease reservoir Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1476-072X-13-34 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Benjamin P Monroe - Yoshinori J Nakazawa - Mary G Reynolds - Darin S Carroll


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