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June 27, 2014
Global Distribution Maps of the Leishmaniases - new paper

A new paper by Pigott et al, Global Distribution Maps of the Leishmaniases in eLife performs a global assessment of the consensus of evidence for leishmaniasis at a sub-national level by aggregating information from a variety of sources.

The leishmaniases are vector-borne diseases that have a broad global distribution throughout much of the Americas, Africa and Asia. Despite representing a significant public health burden, our understanding of the global distribution of the leishmaniases remains vague, reliant upon expert opinion and limited to poor spatial resolution.

The paper records how a database of records of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis occurrence was compiled from published literature, online reports, strain archives and GenBank accessions. These, with a suite of biologically relevant environmental covariates, were used in a boosted regression tree modelling framework to generate global environmental risk maps for the leishmaniases.

These high-resolution evidence-based maps can help direct future surveillance activities, identify areas to target for disease control and inform future burden estimation efforts.