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Modelling the distribution in Hawaii of Angiostrongylus cantonensis (rat lungworm) in its gastropod hosts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 June 2018

Jaynee R. Kim
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, University of Hawaii, 2538 McCarthy Mall, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii, 3050 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
Tamara M. Wong
Affiliation:
Department of Botany, University of Hawaii, 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
Patrick A. Curry
Affiliation:
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii, 3050 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
Norine W. Yeung
Affiliation:
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii, 3050 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817, USA
Kenneth A. Hayes
Affiliation:
Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817, USA
Robert H. Cowie
Affiliation:
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii, 3050 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Angiostrongylus cantonensis (rat lungworm), a parasitic nematode, is expanding its distribution. Human infection, known as angiostrongyliasis, may manifest as eosinophilic meningitis, an emerging infectious disease. The range and incidence of this disease are expanding throughout the tropics and subtropics. Recently, the Hawaiian Islands have experienced an increase in reported cases. This study addresses factors affecting the parasite's distribution and projects its potential future distribution, using Hawaii as a model for its global expansion. Specimens of 37 snail species from the Hawaiian Islands were screened for the parasite using PCR. It was present on five of the six largest islands. The data were used to generate habitat suitability models for A. cantonensis, based on temperature and precipitation, to predict its potential further spread within the archipelago. The best current climate model predicted suitable habitat on all islands, with greater suitability in regions with higher precipitation and temperatures. Projections under climate change (to 2100) indicated increased suitability in regions with estimated increased precipitation and temperatures, suitable habitat occurring increasingly at higher elevations. Analogously, climate change could facilitate the spread of A. cantonensis from its current tropical/subtropical range into more temperate regions of the world, as is beginning to be seen in the continental USA.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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