Analysis of climatic data and forecast indices for human fascioliasis at very high altitude

M. V. Fuentes, M. A. Valero, M. D. Bargues, J. G. Esteban, René Anglés Rivero, S. Mas-Coma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

Human infection with Fasciola hepatica has recently been recognized as an important health problem worldwide, and particularly at very high altitudes in South America. The highest prevalences and intensities of human fascioliasis known are those of the northern Bolivian Altiplano, where infected Lymnaea truncatula occur at altitudes of 3800-4100 m. In the present study, the climatic data for this area of the Altiplano, which differ markedly from those of endemic areas in the lowlands, were analysed. There is no marked seasonality in temperature but there are large variations in temperature within a daily, 24-h period. Rainfall is seasonal, with a long dry season, coinciding with the lowest minimum temperatures, and a long wet season. The rate of evapotranspiration is very high, and temporary water bodies dry out very quickly. Solar radiation at ground level is intense, not only because of the altitude but also because of the lack of trees and shrubs. Two climatic indices for forecasting fascioliasis, Mt and Wb-bs, were calculated. Modifications in these forecast indices are proposed, to reflect the environment at high altitude and low latitude. Estimates, based on climadiagrammes, of the durations of the wet and dry seasons were greatly effected by the inclusion of an aridity-index modification. The usefulness of the modified indices was examined using prevalence data for human and cattle fascioliasis collected in the neighbourhoods of the stations providing the meteorological data. Values for both indices indicated that conditions were optimum for transmission between December and March. The results were statistically significant for the modified Wb-bs index when the data for a meteorological station in which no lymnaeids were found were excluded. The modified Mt index did not appear sufficiently accurate to be useful. The values for the modified Wb-bs index permitted the study areas to be designated low-, moderate- or high-risk areas for the transmission of fascioliasis to man and domestic animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-850
Number of pages16
JournalAnnals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
Volume93
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

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