The Role of Ecological Linkage Mechanisms in Plasmodium knowlesi Transmission and Spread

Abstract

Defining the linkages between landscape change, disease ecology and human health is essential to explain and predict the emergence of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria, a zoonotic parasite residing in Southeast Asian macaques, and transmitted by species of Anopheles mosquitos. Changing patterns of land use throughout Southeast Asia, particularly deforestation, are suggested to be the primary drivers behind the recent spread of this zoonotic parasite in humans. Local ecological changes at the landscape scale appear to be increasing the risk of disease in humans by altering the dynamics of transmission between the parasite and its primary hosts. This paper will focus on the emergence of P. knowlesi in humans in Malaysian Borneo and the ecological linkage mechanisms suggested to be playing an important role.

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Acknowledgements

With gratitude, we would like to thank David Alloysius, the manager at the Inikea field site in Sabah, for his time and patience in showing us potential sampling sites last November. Also, thanks must go to the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science for providing funding for this ongoing research within the wider project ‘Balancing production and ecosystem services from degraded tropical rainforests to aid the transition to a more sustainable economy’. The University of Western Australia has provided the opportunity to investigate the effects of forest restoration on human health as a PhD project for GD who also expresses her gratitude to all the supervisors overseeing this research for their time and efforts.

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Correspondence to Tock H. Chua.

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Davidson, G., Chua, T.H., Cook, A. et al. The Role of Ecological Linkage Mechanisms in Plasmodium knowlesi Transmission and Spread. EcoHealth 16, 594–610 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-019-01395-6

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Keywords

  • Plasmodium knowlesi
  • Ecological linkage mechanisms
  • Deforestation
  • Biodiversity
  • Restoration
  • Borneo