Across the countryside: How ecology predicts the movement of parasites and disease

ted throughout the country. Using information on rabies cases compiled by the state of Connecticut, Leslie Real of Emory University, and her associates David Smith (University of Maryland), Brendan Lucy (Emory University), Lance Waller (Emory University), and James Childs (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will examine factors such as location and habitat in an effort to determine how the disease may spread across the state. By focusing on river barriers, human population areas, and distance the team created a model to simulate the spread of rabies which could be used to predict the future spread of the disease. They will describe the accuracy and implications of this model for present-day scenarios.

Returning to the spread of human disease within an ecosystem is the final presentation, Epidemic waves in the dynamics of measles: wavelets and spatial hierarchies. Bryan Grenfell from the University of Cambridge and Ottar Bjornstad of Penn State University-College Park, will discuss how distance and time affect the spread of measles in cities and villages in England and Wales. Both predator-prey and parasite-host interactions can be described as traveling in waves, through time or across the countryside. Grenfell and Bjornstad will discuss how they determined that waves of measles infection spread regionally from large cities to small towns at a speed of around five kilometers per week. Describing their findings using a "forest fire" analogy, they will explain how "infective sparks" randomly spread the disease from large population centers to smaller villages.


Contact: Nadine Lymn
Ecological Society of America

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