Does environmental change drive the spatiotemporal transmission dynamics of Echinococcus spp. in Ningxia, China?

This project is headed up by Dr Yu Rong Yang at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

In this program of research, we will formally test the following hypotheses: (a) Since the beginning of the 21st century, ongoing reforestation and grassland regeneration in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (NHAR) of China has increased the transmission of Echinococcus spp. between animal and human hosts; (b) With current levels of control, this will lead to an increase in the human disease burden of echinococcosis over the next 30 years.

We will test these hypotheses with the following specific aims:

  1. To describe changes in forest and grassland cover impacting on the incidence of human echinococcosis in NHAR over the past 20 years.
  2. To predict the contemporary and future spatiotemporal distribution of Echinococcus spp. transmission in NHAR as a result of ongoing environmental change.
  3. To assess the impact of multi-component integrated control strategies, including responses to environmental change in NHAR, on the human echinococcosis burden, using a mathematical model.


  • Atkinson, J.M., Williams, G.M., Yakob, L., Clements, A.C.A., Barnes, T.S., McManus, D.P., Yang, Y.R., Gray D.J. (2013) Synthesising 30 Years of Mathematical Modelling of Echinococcus Transmission. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 7(8): e2386.
  • Atkinson J.M., Gray, D.J., Clements, A.C.A., Barnes, T.S., McManus, D.P., Yang, Y.R. (2013) Environmental Changes impacting Echinococcus transmission: research to support predictive surveillance and control. Global Change Biology 19: 677-688.
  • Yang, Y.R., Clements, A.C.A., Gray, D.J., Atkinson, J.M., Williams, G.M., Barnes, T.S., McManus, D.P. (2012) Impact of anthropogenic and natural environmental changes on Echinococcus transmission in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the Peoples’ Republic of China. Parasites and Vectors 5: 146.


  • QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
  • University of Franche Compte  
  • Australian National University
  • Ningxia Medical University
  • National Institute of Parasitic Diseases

Funding partners

  • National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia