Projected Future Distributions of Vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi in North America under Climate Change Scenarios
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Projected Future Distributions of Vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi in North America under Climate Change Scenarios

Filetype[PDF-1.85 MB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      PLoS Negl Trop Dis
    • Description:

      Chagas disease kills approximately 45 thousand people annually and affects 10 million people in Latin America and the southern United States. The parasite that causes the disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, can be transmitted by insects of the family Reduviidae, subfamily Triatominae. Any study that attempts to evaluate risk for Chagas disease must focus on the ecology and biogeography of these vectors. Expected distributional shifts of vector species due to climate change are likely to alter spatial patterns of risk of Chagas disease, presumably through northward expansion of high risk areas in North America.

      Methodology/Principal Findings

      We forecast the future (2050) distributions in North America of Triatoma gerstaeckeri and T. sanguisuga, two of the most common triatomine species and important vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi in the southern United States. Our aim was to analyze how climate change might affect the future shift of Chagas disease in North America using a maximum entropy algorithm to predict changes in suitable habitat based on vector occurrence points and predictive environmental variables. Projections based on three different general circulation models (CCCMA, CSIRO, and HADCM3) and two IPCC scenarios (A2 and B2) were analyzed. Twenty models were developed for each case and evaluated via cross-validation. The final model averages result from all twenty of these models. All models had AUC >0.90, which indicates that the models are robust. Our results predict a potential northern shift in the distribution of T. gerstaeckeri and a northern and southern distributional shift of T. sanguisuga from its current range due to climate change.


      The results of this study provide baseline information for monitoring the northward shift of potential risk from Chagas disease in the face of climate change.

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