Already endemic in over 110 countries, and with almost 50 million cases annually, dengue fever continues to spread. Incidences have increased almost 30-fold in the past 50 years. Although rarely fatal, the disease costs Latin America and the Caribbean around $2.1 billion annually. Being a vector-borne disease, it is spread by mosquitos that frequently lay their eggs in standing water that is common near households in many tropical countries. Previous research has shown that dengue fever exhibits seasonal patterns, which means that climate change might affect its spread.
Climate scientists predict that climate change will lead to increased variability in precipitation over much of South America. Research by Carlton et al (2013) on residents of northwestern rural Ecuador who rely on streams and rivers for their drinking water shows how those changes might impact water quality and associated rates of diarrhea, a water-related disease which leads to approximately 1 million deaths of young children worldwide each year. The study further highlighted curious dynamics involving precipitation and water-borne disease.
Over 3 billion people rely on solid fuels burned in inefficient devices to meet their cooking and heating needs with profound social and environmental consequences. There is strong evidence indicating that Household Air Pollution (HAP) caused by poor combustion of biomass and other solid fuels contributes to acute lower respiratory infections in children, low birth weight and stillbirth, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer, as well as cataracts and tuberculosis. As a result, HAP is the fourth leading cause of illness and death worldwide.
Thure Cerling is a pioneer in the use of stable isotopes of Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen to study historic changes in CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001. In recent years he’s used stable isotopes to analyse hair, teeth and bone to better understand the impacts of changing CO2 levels on habitat, animals and man.
Kevin Lafferty is an ecologist with the US Geological Survey. He is also adjunct faculty at UC Santa Barbara where he helps run the ecological parasitology research group and mentors a half dozen PhD students. His research interests include how infectious diseases interact with food webs, conservation, marine ecology, human health, climate change, and biodiversity.
Dr. Joseph Eisenberg will be giving a lecture entitled “Ecological and Social Determinants of Enteric Pathogen Transmission in Northern Coastal Ecuador: Towards effective and sustainable interventions” at the EMD Seminar Series on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 12 pm in LEPH 115.
Joseph Messina is Professor of Geography and Acting Director of the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations at Michigan State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from UNC- Chapel Hill (2001). He has worked in the Amazon, SE Asia, and East Africa on human – environment interactions, infectious diseases, and land change science. In Michigan, he explores issues related to health care access and recently co-authored a new standard for hospital services.