A mechanistic model of snakebite as a zoonosis: Envenoming incidence is driven by snake ecology, socioeconomics and its impacts on snakes

Gerardo Martín, Joseph J. Erinjery, Dileepa Ediriweera, H. Janaka de Silva, David G. Lalloo, Takuya Iwamura, Kris A. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Snakebite is the only WHO-listed, not infectious neglected tropical disease (NTD), although its eco-epidemiology is similar to that of zoonotic infections: envenoming occurs after a vertebrate host contacts a human. Accordingly, snakebite risk represents the interaction between snake and human factors, but their quantification has been limited by data availability. Models of infectious disease transmission are instrumental for the mitigation of NTDs and zoonoses. Here, we represented snake-human interactions with disease transmission models to approximate geospatial estimates of snakebite incidence in Sri Lanka, a global hotspot. Snakebites and envenomings are described by the product of snake and human abundance, mirroring directly transmitted zoonoses. We found that human-snake contact rates vary according to land cover (surrogate of occupation and socioeconomic status), the impacts of humans and climate on snake abundance, and by snake species. Our findings show that modelling snakebite as zoonosis provides a mechanistic eco-epidemiological basis to understand snakebites, and the possible implications of global environmental and demographic change for the burden of snakebite.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0009867
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes

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