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Exploring the thermal limits of malaria transmission in the western Himalaya
  • Farhina Mozzafer,
  • Gautam Menon,
  • Farah Ishtiaq
Farhina Mozzafer
The Institute of Mathematical Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Gautam Menon
The Institute of Mathematical Sciences
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Farah Ishtiaq
Tata Institute for Genetics and Society
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Environmental temperature is a key driver of malaria transmission dynamics. Using detailed temperature records from four sites (1800-3200m) in the western Himalaya, we model how temperature regulates parasite development rate (the inverse of the extrinsic incubation period, EIP) in the wild. Using a Briére parametrization of the EIP, combined with Bayesian parameter inference, we study the thermal limits of transmission for avian (P. relictum) and human Plasmodium parasites (P. vivax and P. falciparum) as well as for two malaria-like avian parasites, Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon. We demonstrate that temperature conditions can substantially alter the incubation period of parasites at high elevation sites (2600-3200m) leading to restricted parasite development or long transmission windows. We then compare estimates of EIP based on measures of mean temperature versus hourly temperatures to show that EIP days vary in cold versus warm environments. We found that human Plasmodium parasites experience a limited transmission window at 2600m. In contrast, for avian Plasmodium transmission was not possible between September to March at 2600m. In addition, temperature conditions suitable for both Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon transmission were obtained from June to August and in April, at 2600m. Finally, we use temperature projections from a suite of climate models to predict that by 2040, high elevation sites (~ 2600 m) will have a temperature range conducive for malaria transmission, albeit with a limited transmission window. Our study highlights the importance of accounting for fine-scale thermal effects in the expansion of the range of the malaria parasite with global climate change.
16 Mar 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
17 Mar 2022Submission Checks Completed
17 Mar 2022Assigned to Editor
18 Mar 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 Mar 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 May 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
26 Jul 20221st Revision Received
26 Jul 2022Assigned to Editor
26 Jul 2022Submission Checks Completed
26 Jul 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Jul 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
16 Aug 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
18 Aug 20222nd Revision Received
19 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
19 Aug 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
22 Aug 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Sep 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 9. 10.1002/ece3.9278