Spatially explicit uncertainty modeling of zoonotic pathogen distribution: a case of Listeria monocytogenes in New York State, USA

Title:Spatially explicit uncertainty modeling of zoonotic pathogen distribution: a case of Listeria monocytogenes in New York State, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
Authors:Rita Mwima, Anthony Gidudu, Allan Mazimwe, Arika Ligmann-Zielinska, Samuel Majalija, Margaret Khaitsa, John David Kabasa, Peter Bergholz
Spatial modeling, Listeria monocytogenes, Multicriteria evaluation, Uncertainty analysis (UA), Sensitivity analysis (SA)
Abstract:Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that is responsible for causing Listeria, a disease that has a wide range of adverse effects such as meningitis, bacteremia, complications during pregnancy, and other fatal illnesses especially among those whose immune systems are compromised. The purpose of this study was to establish hotspot candidate sites in New York State where the L. monocytogenes pathogen could be found. Several suitability criteria which include proximity to water, pasture, forests, and urban development and slope among others in New York State were considered in this
analysis. This study assessed which spatial habitat factors influence habitat suitability of the L. monocytogenes pathogen in the forested areas of New York State. Multicriteria evaluation was used to integrate the different habitat factors using their different weights expressed using probability distributions. Spatially explicit uncertainty and sensitivity analysis (UA and SA) was carried out to examine the robustness of habitat suitability analysis. Suitability maps were generated
and summarized using an average suitability map, a standard deviation uncertainty map, and sensitivity maps. Results showed that the shallowest depth to a wet soil layer (measured
annually) and proximity to water are the habitat factors which contribute the most and individually to the distribution and survival of this pathogen. The slope gradient is singly insignificant but influential when associated with other factors like temperature, soil organic matter content, volume of water soil
can store, proximity to forest, urban development, and pasture among others. It was established that water is the key habitat factor that favors the survival of this pathogen. Also, the ability to spatially model zoonotic pathogen hotspots is important in zoonoses control, informing and influencing policy. From these results, it is important to maintain the water quality of the water sources (lakes, rivers, ponds) and ensure that there is limited runoff from slopes.