1 National Institute for Medical Research, Tabora, Tanzania,
2 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania,
3 Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance, Morogoro, Tanzania,
4 Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics & Public Health Group, Department of Production& Population Health, Royal Veterinary College, London, United Kingdom,
5 National Institute for Medical Research, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,
6 Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, of the National Health Laboratory Service, Sandringham, South Africa,
7 School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Despite the long history of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Tanzania, extent of its suitable habitat in the country remains unclear. In this study we investigated potential effects of temperature, precipitation, elevation, soil type, livestock density, rainfall pattern, proximity to wild animals, protected areas and forest on the habitat suitability for RVF occurrence in Tanzania.
Materials and Methods
Presence-only records of 193 RVF outbreak locations from 1930 to 2007 together with potential predictor variables were used to model and map the suitable habitats for RVF occurrence using ecological niche modelling. Ground-truthing of the model outputs was conducted by comparing the levels of RVF virus specific antibodies in cattle, sheep and goats sampled from locations in Tanzania that presented different predicted habitat suitability values.
Spatial Heterogeneity of Habitat Suitability for Rift Valley Fever Occurrence in Tanzania: An Ecological Niche Modelling Approach