Interventions can shift the thermal optimum for parasitic disease transmission



Temperature constrains the transmission of many pathogens. Interventions that target temperature-sensitive life stages, such as vector controlmeasures that kill intermediate hosts, could shift the thermal optimum of transmission, thereby altering seasonal disease dynamics and rendering interventions less effective at certain times of the year and with global climate change. To test these hypotheses, we integrated an epidemiological model of schistosomiasis with empirically determined temperature-dependent traits of the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni and its intermediate snail host (Biomphalaria spp.). We show that transmission risk peaks at 21.7 degrees C (Topt), and simulated interventions targeting snails and free-living parasite larvae increased Topt by up to 1.3 degrees C because intervention-related mortality overrode thermal constraints on transmission. This Topt shift suggests that snail control is more effective at lower temperatures, and global climate change will increase schistosomiasis risk in regions that move closer to Topt. Considering regional transmission phenologies and timing of interventions when local conditions approach Topt will maximize human health outcomes.


Attribute NameValues
  • Harwood, Valerie J.

  • Rohr, Jason R.

  • Civitello, David J.

  • Nguyen, Karena H.

  • Boersch-Supan, Philipp H.

  • Mendiola, Sandra Y.

  • Hartman, Rachel B.

Journal or Work Title
  • Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America

  • 118

  • 11

  • 0027-8424

Publication Date
  • 2021-03-16

  • Malaria Transmission

  • Water Temperature

  • neglected tropical disease

  • climate change

  • epidemiological modeling

  • snail control

  • Snail

  • Schistosoma-Mansoni

  • Dynamics

  • Mathematical-Models

  • temperature

  • Climate-Change

  • Cercariae

  • Survival

  • Biomphalaria-Glabrata

  • Natl Acad Sciences

  • English

Departments and Units
Record Visibility Public

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