Drivers and potential distribution of anthrax occurrence and incidence at national and sub-county levels across Kenya from 2006 to 2020 using INLA.

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Ndolo, Valentina A 
Redding, David William 
Lekolool, Isaac 
Mwangangi, David Mumo 
Odhiambo, David Onyango 

Anthrax is caused by, Bacillus anthracis, a soil-borne bacterium that infects grazing animals. Kenya reported a sharp increase in livestock anthrax cases from 2005, with only 12% of the sub-counties (decentralised administrative units used by Kenyan county governments to facilitate service provision) accounting for almost a third of the livestock cases. Recent studies of the spatial extent of B. anthracis suitability across Kenya have used approaches that cannot capture the underlying spatial and temporal dependencies in the surveillance data. To address these limitations, we apply the first Bayesian approach using R-INLA to analyse a long-term dataset of livestock anthrax case data, collected from 2006 to 2020 in Kenya. We develop a spatial and a spatiotemporal model to investigate the distribution and socio-economic drivers of anthrax occurrence and incidence at the national and sub-county level. The spatial model was robust to geographically based cross validation and had a sensitivity of 75% (95% CI 65-75) against withheld data. Alarmingly, the spatial model predicted high intensity of anthrax across the Northern counties (Turkana, Samburu, and Marsabit) comprising pastoralists who are often economically and politically marginalized, and highly predisposed to a greater risk of anthrax. The spatiotemporal model showed a positive link between livestock anthrax risk and the total human population and the number of exotic dairy cattle, and a negative association with the human population density, livestock producing households, and agricultural land area. Public health programs aimed at reducing human-animal contact, improving access to healthcare, and increasing anthrax awareness, should prioritize these endemic regions.


Funder: Alborada Trust; doi:

Animals, Cattle, Humans, Anthrax, Kenya, Incidence, Bayes Theorem, Bacillus anthracis, Livestock
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1144)