Predicting risk of malaria in Southeast Asia

This study explores the distributions of reservoir and vector species of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi.

Data resources used via GBIF : 11,866 species occurrences
Macaca fascicularis

Macaca fascicularis, one of the P. knowlesi reservoir species. Photo by Johnny Wilson licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

In 2013, approximately 1 million cases of malaria were reported in the islands of southeast Asia, the most common cause of which is the parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, with immense health, social and economic consequences in the region. In this study, researchers attempted to predict the spread of the disease by building distributions models of three reservoir species (Macaca spp.) as well as two mosquito vectors (Dirus Complex and Leucosphyrus Complex). Using GBIF-mediated occurrences they generated fine-scale maps of the species’ distributions and explored overlaps and combined relationships with shrinking forest cover and use. The results suggest a potential increase in co-habitation of reservoir and vector species in areas with human activity, e.g. plantations and timber concessions. Overall, the study adds important knowledge to be used in future analyses of P. knowlesi infection risk in Southeast Asia.


Moyes CL, Shearer FM, Huang Z, Wiebe A, Gibson HS, Nijman V, Mohd-Azlan J, Brodie JF, Malaivijitnond S, Linkie M, Samejima H, O’Brien TG, Trainor CR, Hamada Y, Giordano AJ, Kinnaird MF, Elyazar IRF, Sinka ME, Vythilingam I, Bangs MJ, Pigott DM, Weiss DJ, Golding N and Hay SI (2016) Predicting the geographical distributions of the macaque hosts and mosquito vectors of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in forested and non-forested areas. Parasites & Vectors. Springer Nature 9(1). Available at doi:10.1186/s13071-016-1527-0.