Landscape fragmentation as a risk factor for buruli ulcer disease in Ghana

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Land cover and its change have been linked to Buruli ulcer (BU), a rapidly emerging tropical disease. However, it is unknown whether landscape structure affects the disease prevalence. To examine the association between landscape pattern and BU presence, we obtained land cover information for 20 villages in southwestern Ghana from high resolution satellite images, and analyzed the landscape pattern surrounding each village. Eight landscape metrics indicated that landscape patterns between BU case and reference villages were different (P < 0.05) at the broad spatial extent examined (4 km). The logistic regression models showed that landscape fragmentation and diversity indices were positively associated with BU presence in a village. Specifically, for each increase in patch density and edge density by 100 units, the likelihood of BU presence in a village increased 2.51 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36-4.61) and 4.18 (95% CI = 1.63-10.76) times, respectively. The results suggest that increased landscape fragmentation may pose a risk to the emergence of BU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Parasitology


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