The spatial spread of schistosomiasis: A multidimensional network model applied to Saint-Louis region, Senegal.
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic, water-related disease that is prevalent in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, causing severe and chronic consequences especially among children. Here we study the spatial spread of this disease within a network of connected villages in the endemic region of the Lower Basin of the Senegal River, in Senegal. The analysis is performed by means of a spatially explicit metapopulation model that couples local-scale eco-epidemiological dynamics with spatial mechanisms related to human mobility (estimated from anonymized mobile phone records), snail dispersal and hydrological transport of schistosome larvae along the main water bodies of the region. Results show that the model produces epidemiological patterns consistent with field observations, and point out the key role of spatial connectivity on the spread of the disease. These findings underline the importance of considering different transport pathways in order to elaborate disease control strategies that can be effective within a network of connected populations.