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Environmental factors and public health policy associated with human and rodent infection by leptospirosis: a land cover-based study in Nan province, Thailand

  • P. DELLA ROSSA (a1), K. TANTRAKARNAPA (a2), D. SUTDAN (a3), K. KASETSINSOMBAT (a4), J.-F. COSSON (a5), Y. SUPPUTAMONGKOL (a6), K. CHAISIRI (a7), A. TRAN (a8) (a9), S. SUPPUTAMONGKOL (a10), A. BINOT (a11), C. LAJAUNIE (a12) and S. MORAND (a7) (a13)...

Summary

Leptospirosis incidence has increased markedly since 1995 in Thailand, with the eastern and northern parts being the most affected regions, particularly during flooding events. Here, we attempt to overview the evolution of human prevalence during the past decade and identify the environmental factors that correlate with the incidence of leptospirosis and the clinical incidence in humans. We used an extensive survey of Leptospira infection in rodents conducted in 2008 and 2009 and the human incidence of the disease from 2003 to 2012 in 168 villages of two districts of Nan province in Northern Thailand. Using an ad-hoc developed land-use cover implemented in a geographical information system we showed that humans and rodents were not infected in the same environment/habitat in the land-use cover. High village prevalence was observed in open habitat near rivers for the whole decade, or in 2008–2009 mostly in rice fields prone to flooding, whereas infected rodents (2008–2009) were observed in patchy habitat with high forest cover, mostly situated on sloping ground areas. We also investigated the potential effects of public health campaigns conducted after the dramatic flood event of 2006. We showed that, before 2006, human incidence in villages was explained by the population size of the village according to the environmental source of infection of this disease, while as a result of the campaigns, human incidence in villages after 2006 appeared independent of their population size. This study confirms the role of the environment and particularly land use, in the transmission of bacteria, emphasized by the effects of the provincial public health campaigns on the epidemiological pattern of incidence, and questions the role of rodents as reservoirs.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Author for correspondence: S. Morand, CNRS-CIRAD, Centre d'Infectiologie Christophe Mérieux du Laos, Vientiane, Lao PDR. (Email: serge.morand@univ-montp2.fr)

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