Date of Award

January 2024

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Serap Aksoy


African trypanosomiasis, a neglected vector-borne parasitic disease transmitted by tsetse flies, poses a significant threat to human and animal health in Sub-Saharan Africa. As the effects of climate change alter weather patterns, these shifts in climate are predicted to impact the disease distribution and transmission dynamics through alterations in tsetse vector life history traits and infection prevalence.

This study investigates the potential effects of increasing temperatures on tsetse fly life history traits and their subsequent influence on African trypanosomiasis transmission. Specifically, the research examines how temperature variations impact fly survival, female fecundity, generation time, and vector competence. By analyzing these factors, the study aims to provide valuable insights into the potential consequences of climate change on African trypanosomiasis transmission dynamics and vector population demographics.

To examine these varying parameters, tsetse flies (Glossina morsitans morsitans) were reared at two different temperatures (27°C, and 28.5°C) and findings were compared to those at the ambient temperature 25°C to simulate potential temperature change scenarios. Fly survival, pupa deposition, eclosion rate, and infection prevalence with Trypanosoma brucei brucei parasites were monitored over time. Statistical analyses were performed to assess the significance of the observed differences between different temperature groups. This study found that under varying temperature conditions, tsetse fly life history traits were significantly impacted as flies reared at higher temperatures exhibited shorter development times during larval as well as accelerated development and maturation. Temperature-treated flies displayed reduced lifespans, leading to reduced output at the population level. Temperature was shown to increase the infection index of 27°C flies, but not the 28.5°C flies, suggesting a potential tipping point in parasite development and load within the fly under warming conditions that have implications for transmission rates in the future.

This research provides valuable insights into the potential consequences of climate change for African trypanosomiasis transmission patterns. While temperature increases might lead to faster development in the immature stages of tsetse flies, they may also decrease overall adult fly lifespan, creating a complex scenario for transmission dynamics that requires further research. These findings can assist in predicting future changes in transmission dynamics within Africa, informing strategies for controlling African trypanosomiasis in a changing climate.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access