Spatiotemporal analysis of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Palestine and foresight study by projections modelling until 2060 based on climate change prediction

Published: 2022


Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a vector-borne parasitic diseases of public health importance that is prevalent in the West Bank but not in the Gaza Strip. The disease caused by parasitic protozoans from the genus Leishmania and it is transmitted by infected phlebotomine sand flies. The aim of our study is to investigate the eco-epidemiological parameters and spatiotemporal projections of CL in Palestine over a 30-years period from 1990 through 2020 and to explore future projections until 2060.

Methodology/Principal findings
This long-term descriptive epidemiological study includes investigation of demographic characteristics of reported patients by the Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMoH). Moreover, we explored spatiotemporal distribution of CL including future projection based on climate change scenarios. The number of CL patients reported during this period was 5855 cases, and the average annual incidence rate (AAIR) was 18.5 cases/105 population. The male to female ratio was 1.25:1. Patients-age ranged from 2 months to 89 years (mean = 22.5, std 18.67, and the median was 18 years). More than 65% of the cases came from three governates in the West Bank; Jenin 29% (1617 cases), Jericho 25% (1403), and Tubas 12% (658) with no cases reported in the Gaza Strip. Seasonal occurrence of CL starts to increase in December and peaked during March and April of the following year. Current distribution of CL indicate that Jericho, Tubas, Jenin and Nablus have the most suitable climatic settings for the sandfly vectors. Future projections until 2060 suggest an increasing incidence from northwest of Jenin down to the southwest of Ramallah, disappearance of the foci in Jericho and Tubas throughout the Jordan Vally, and possible emergence of new foci in Gaza Strip.

The future projection of CL in Palestine until 2060 show a tendency of increasing incidence in the north western parts of the West Bank, disappearance from Jericho and Tubas throughout the Jordan Vally, and emergence of new CL endemic foci in the Gaza Strip. These results should be considered to implement effective control and surveillance systems to counteract spatial expansion of CL vectors.

Ahmad Amro
Olga Moskalenko
Omar Hamarsheh
Marcus Frohme