Phylodynamics and human-mediated dispersal of a zoonotic virus

Talbi, C., Lemey, P., Suchard, M.A., Abdelatif, E., Elharrak, M., Nourlil, J., Faouzi, A., Echevarria, J.E., Vazquez Moron, S., Rambaut, A., Campiz, N., Tatem, A.J., Holmes, E.C. and Bourhy, H. (2010) Phylodynamics and human-mediated dispersal of a zoonotic virus PLoS Pathogens, 6, (10), e1001166-[10pp]. (doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001166).


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Understanding the role of humans in the dispersal of predominantly animal pathogens is essential for their control. We used newly developed Bayesian phylogeographic methods to unravel the dynamics and determinants of the spread of dog rabies virus (RABV) in North Africa. Each of the countries studied exhibited largely disconnected spatial dynamics with major geopolitical boundaries acting as barriers to gene flow. Road distances proved to be better predictors of the movement of dog RABV than accessibility or raw geographical distance, with occasional long distance and rapid spread within each of these countries. Using simulations that bridge phylodynamics and spatial epidemiology, we demonstrate that the contemporary viral distribution extends beyond that expected for RABV transmission in African dog populations. These results are strongly supportive of human-mediated dispersal, and demonstrate how an integrated phylogeographic approach will turn viral genetic data into a powerful asset for characterizing, predicting, and potentially controlling the spatial spread of pathogens.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001166
ISSNs: 1553-7366 (print)
Keywords: algeria/epidemiology, animals, computer simulation demography, dogs, evolution, molecular gene flow, genetics, physiology, geography, humans, morocco, epidemiology, phylogeny, rabies virus, physiology tunisia, zoonoses, transmission, virology

Organisations: Geography & Environment
ePrint ID: 344451
Date :
Date Event
28 October 2010Published
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2012 10:02
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 16:27
Further Information:Google Scholar

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