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Environmental Change and Emerging Infectious Disease

I regularly co-teach this class with Bill Durham (last in Fall Quarter 2013-2014). There are an infinite number of ways that human agency can facilitate (or hinder) the emergence of new infectious diseases or the re-emergence of old ones. Our goal has been to ground the study of emerging infectious diseases in the theory of community ecology, evolutionary biology, and mathematical epidemiology. Providing such a theoretical grounding helps us to organize thinking on the subject, tells us which data we should be collecting, and hopefully yields insights into prevention and control of emerging infections.

Course Description: 

This is a lecture course on the changing epidemiological environment, with particular attention to the ways in which human-induced environmental changes are altering the ecology of infectious disease transmission, thereby promoting their re-emergence as a major global public health threat. Organized by case studies of environmental change at (roughly) local to global scales, we focus on the role that environmental changes (such as deforestation and land-use conversion, urbanization, human migration, international commerce, and global warming) play in contemporary disease transmission. The diseases affected by these environmental changes include SARS, Malaria, HIV, Chagas disease, Lyme, Influenza, Cholera, Hantavirus, BSE/vCJD, and West Nile Virus.