Emergence and spread

Last update: 15 March 2011

There is a clear sequence of events which lead to epidemics of vector-borne diseases: introduction, emergence and spread. Understanding each of these components is crucial in developing a science-based and data-driven suite of preventative, control or monitoring measures (intervention and control). However, the underlying mechanisms of each stage are completely different, and so EDENext will be employing different model diseases to investigate the different stages.

There are many possible routes of introduction of vectors or vector-borne pathogens, and introduction risk is highly vector-dependent: the pathways along which vectors and pathogens arrive may be very different and may be strongly influenced by chance events that are difficult to quantify. EDENext is developing methods to assess introduction risk which are generically applicable for distinct classes of vectors and pathogens/parasites.

To understand and model the emergence and spread of vector-borne and rodent and insectivore-borne (rainbo) diseases, the description and explanation of vector and host competence and capacity are the connecting thread of most research activities implemented in EDENext. The identification of biological mechanisms and ecological processes involved in competence and capacity are of particular importance to ensure a broad application of the results and predictive power for the quantitative models which are being developed. For this purpose, the infection’s natural cycle will be thoroughly studied for each host-vector-pathogen system, including the basic biology of vector and disease reservoirs.

The spread of vectors, hosts (rodents and insectivores) and pathogens is being specifically studied, using either proxies such as wind analysis and dispersion models (for biting midges) or with field studies (for population genetics of ticks and tick-borne pathogens, pathogens and ectoparasites borne by migrating birds). A coordinated research network is being developed to replicate field studies with harmonised protocols in strategic places such as disease-emergence or vector-invasion frontlines, or contrasted environmental or control conditions etc. Laboratory experiments to study the life traits of vectors and pathogens and vector/host competence will also be coordinated across EDENext.

A common goal for all the disease systems under study will be to develop predictive, quantitative models of vector-population dynamics, or disease transmission and spread.

Last update: 15 March 2011

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