Spatial analysis of G.f.fuscipes abundance in Uganda using Poisson and Zero-Inflated Poisson regression models

Albert Mugenyi, Dennis Muhanguzi, Guy Hendrickx, Gaëlle Nicolas, Charles Waiswa, Steve Torr, Susan C Welburn, Peter M. Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tsetse flies are the major vectors of human trypanosomiasis of the form Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and T.b.gambiense. They are widely spread across the sub-Saharan Africa and rendering a lot of challenges to both human and animal health. This stresses effective agricultural production and productivity in Africa. Delimiting the extent and magnitude of tsetse coverage has been a challenge over decades due to limited resources and unsatisfactory technology. In a bid to overcome these limitations, this study attempted to explore modelling skills that can be applied to spatially estimate tsetse abundance in the country using limited tsetse data and a set of remote-sensed environmental variables.

Entomological data for the period 2008–2018 as used in the model were obtained from various sources and systematically assembled using a structured protocol. Data harmonisation for the purposes of responsiveness and matching was carried out. The key tool for tsetse trapping was itemized as pyramidal trap in many instances and biconical trap in others. Based on the spatially explicit assembled data, we ran two regression models; standard Poisson and Zero-Inflated Poisson (ZIP), to explore the associations between tsetse abundance in Uganda and several environmental and climatic covariates. The covariate data were constituted largely by satellite sensor data in form of meteorological and vegetation surrogates in association with elevation and land cover data. We finally used the Zero-Inflated Poisson (ZIP) regression model to predict tsetse abundance due to its superiority over the standard Poisson after model fitting and testing using the Vuong Non-Nested statistic.

A total of 1,187 tsetse sampling points were identified and considered as representative for the country. The model results indicated the significance and level of responsiveness of each covariate in influencing tsetse abundance across the study area. Woodland vegetation, elevation, temperature, rainfall, and dry season normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) were important in determining tsetse abundance and spatial distribution at varied scales. The resultant prediction map shows scaled tsetse abundance with estimated fitted numbers ranging from 0 to 59 flies per trap per day (FTD). Tsetse abundance was found to be largest at low elevations, in areas of high vegetative activity, in game parks, forests and shrubs during the dry season. There was very limited responsiveness of selected predictors to tsetse abundance during the wet season, matching the known fact that tsetse disperse most significantly during wet season.

A methodology was advanced to enable compilation of entomological data for 10 years, which supported the generation of tsetse abundance maps for Uganda through modelling. Our findings indicate the spatial distribution of the G. f. fuscipes as; low 0–5 FTD (48%), medium 5.1–35 FTD (18%) and high 35.1–60 FTD (34%) grounded on seasonality. This approach, amidst entomological data shortages due to limited resources and absence of expertise, can be adopted to enable mapping of the vector to provide better decision support towards designing and implementing targeted tsetse and tsetse-transmitted African trypanosomiasis control strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0009820
Number of pages24
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021


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