The Earth Institute's International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is pleased to present "Environmental triggers of outbreaks in seasonal vector-borne diseases" with Michael Wimberley, Professor and Senior Scientist, South Dakota State University.
Free and open to the public.
Ongoing global climate and land cover change have raised concerns about
the impacts of these trends on human health. In particular, the risk of
vector-borne and zoonotic diseases will be impacted because the ecology
of their vector and host species is sensitive to changes in both climate
and habitat. Many of these diseases exhibit a marked seasonality that
is strongly modulated by recurring patterns of temperature and
precipitation. In this talk, I will explore the implications of this
seasonality for mapping disease risk and forecasting disease outbreaks
through two case studies: West Nile virus in the United States and
epidemic malaria in the highland of Ethiopia. In both cases, outbreaks
are associated with climatic signals that precede the main disease
transmission season. However, these climatic sensitivities vary
throughout the season, supporting a conceptual model in which outbreaks
are facilitated through a cascade of environmental “triggers” occurring
at different points in time. These nature and timing of these triggers
also vary geographically as functions of ecological context. This
conceptual model has important implications for understanding the causes
of vector-borne disease epidemics and ultimately developing more
effective systems for epidemic forecasting.