West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, malaria--these are just a few of the infectious diseases affecting not only wildlife but people. But it's becoming increasingly apparent to researchers studying emerging diseases that people themselves are exacerbating the problem. Human activities--primarily habitat alteration--appear to be influencing the prevalence of and exposure opportunities to many emerging diseases.
Sharon Collinge, of the University of Colorado--Boulder, believes that a primary goal of community ecologists should be to predict the disease ramifications of human alterations to the environment.
"Although we've studied community interactions such as a community of parasites infecting a single host, we have not devoted as much effort to addressing additional complications, such as sequential host species that interact on different trophic levels," explains Collinge.
Collinge, together with Chris Ray, also of UC--Boulder, have organized a symposium, "Emerging Diseases: Stressing the Union of Community Ecology and Epidemiology," which will be held during the Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. One of the chief goals of their symposium, say the organizers, is to stimulate the development of 'community epidemiology' as a sub-discipline of ecology.
Collinge and Ray have assembled a panel of speakers, who will each highlight cases where human activities appear to be influencing the prevalence and movement of diseases, including:
- Andrew Dobson, of Princeton University, drawing from examples of pathogens of carnivores in the Serengeti and of birds in Hawaii, will highlight pathogens that move between wild hosts and domestic hosts, as well as from domestic/wild hosts to humans.
- Eliska Rejmankova, of the University of California--Davis, will describe her research team's hypothesis that nutrient-enriched runoff from agricultural lands and human settlements in Belize, Cent
Contact: Annie Drinkard
Ecological Society of America 4-Aug-2003Page: 1 2 Related biology news :1
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