U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 48(2), 2012, pp. 335–347


As ecologic niche modeling (ENM) evolves as a tool in spatial epidemiology and public health, selection of the most appropriate and informative environmental data sets becomes increasingly important. Here, we build on a previous ENM analysis of the potential distribution of human monkeypox in Africa by refining georeferencing criteria and using more-diverse environmental data to identify environmental parameters contributing to monkeypox distributional ecology. Significant environmental variables include annual precipitation, several temperature-related variables, primary productivity, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, and pH. The potential distribution identified with this set of variables was broader than that identified in previous analyses but does not include areas recently found to hold monkeypox in southern Sudan. Our results emphasize the importance of selecting the most appropriate and informative environmental data sets for ENM analyses in pathogen transmission mapping.