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Changing Climate and Vector-borne Infections: Some Challenges of Scale
March 24th, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm
The Department of Epidemiology Seminar Series
Mercedes Pascual, PhD
Louis Block Profesor of Ecology and Evolution
Department of Ecology & Evolution
University of Chicago
Talk abstract: Infectious diseases transmitted by mosquito vectors include persistent global health threats such as malaria and emergent ones such as dengue. Vector transmission makes these diseases particularly susceptible to changes in climate and in the environment in general. These changes are especially relevant at the edge of the spatial spread of these infections under epidemic dynamics. I present a case study of malaria at an altitudinal “edge”, in an East African highland, to illustrate the strong coupling of transmission dynamics to climate forcing at multiple temporal scales, from seasonal to decadal, and the challenge of control in this context. I then transition to dengue at the edge of seasonal persistence in megacities of the developing world, to address emergent epidemic dynamics characteristic of arboviruses that are thriving under urbanization. The highly heterogenous environments of urban landscapes challenge our understanding of herd immunity and its interplay with seasonal transmission.