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Sci Adv. 2016 Dec 7;2(12):e1600387. eCollection 2016 Dec.

Deforestation-driven food-web collapse linked to emerging tropical infectious disease, Mycobacterium ulcerans.

Author information

1
Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK.; Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR MIVEGEC IRD-CNRS-Université de Montpellier, Centre IRD de Montpellier, BP 64501, Montpellier, France.
2
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR MIVEGEC IRD-CNRS-Université de Montpellier, Centre IRD de Montpellier, BP 64501, Montpellier, France.; International research programme Future Earth, ecoHEALTH initiative, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
3
Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK.
4
Equipe Inserm Avenir ATOMycA, CRCNA INSERM U892 and CNRS U6299, Université et CHU d'Angers, 49933 Angers, France.
5
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR MIVEGEC IRD-CNRS-Université de Montpellier, Centre IRD de Montpellier, BP 64501, Montpellier, France.
6
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR MIVEGEC IRD-CNRS-Université de Montpellier, Centre IRD de Montpellier, BP 64501, Montpellier, France.; Equipe Inserm Avenir ATOMycA, CRCNA INSERM U892 and CNRS U6299, Université et CHU d'Angers, 49933 Angers, France.
7
Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK.; Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR MIVEGEC IRD-CNRS-Université de Montpellier, Centre IRD de Montpellier, BP 64501, Montpellier, France.; Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR BOREA IRD-MNHN-Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 47 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris cedex 5, France.

Abstract

Generalist microorganisms are the agents of many emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), but their natural life cycles are difficult to predict due to the multiplicity of potential hosts and environmental reservoirs. Among 250 known human EIDs, many have been traced to tropical rain forests and specifically freshwater aquatic systems, which act as an interface between microbe-rich sediments or substrates and terrestrial habitats. Along with the rapid urbanization of developing countries, population encroachment, deforestation, and land-use modifications are expected to increase the risk of EID outbreaks. We show that the freshwater food-web collapse driven by land-use change has a nonlinear effect on the abundance of preferential hosts of a generalist bacterial pathogen, Mycobacterium ulcerans. This leads to an increase of the pathogen within systems at certain levels of environmental disturbance. The complex link between aquatic, terrestrial, and EID processes highlights the potential importance of species community composition and structure and species life history traits in disease risk estimation and mapping. Mechanisms such as the one shown here are also central in predicting how human-induced environmental change, for example, deforestation and changes in land use, may drive emergence.

KEYWORDS:

Buruli ulcer; French Guiana; Land-use; anthropogenic change; deforestation; emerging infectious disease; foodwebs; stable isotopes

PMID:
27957534
PMCID:
PMC5142798
DOI:
10.1126/sciadv.1600387
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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