The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Control

CIDD research is relevant to the design of strategies to control human and animal diseases — including zoonotic and other emerging diseases.

 

Vaccination

Vaccination reduces disease transmission by reducing the pool of susceptible individuals.

  • A key issue at the start of any control initiative is surveillance and assessment of disease burden. Matt Ferrari and John Fricks are working on developing statistical methods to estimate the burden of childhood disease, at the national and global level.
  • Matt Ferrari and coworkers are modeling the epidemic consequences of novel vaccination strategies in developing countries, where these pathogens are still a significant cause of mortality in children.
  • Andrew Read's group has been looking at the impact of vaccine programs on the selection for virulence in both human (malaria) and livestock (Marek's Disease) pathogens.  In collaboration with Matt Thomas' group, they have been applying these lessons to the development of new control strategies for mosquitoes that can minimize selection for increased resistance or virulence.
  • Shweta Bansal is looking at how the complex network of commercial interactions in livestock production can impact the spread of important pathogens (such as Foot and Mouth Disease) and how knowledge of that network can be used to optimize prevention and control of outbreaks.
  • CIDD research on immunodynamics, evolution of virulence and parasite interactions is also relevant to the development and distribution of effective vaccines.

 

Building design

The architectural design and spatial distribution of buildings can greatly affect disease transmission in humans and livestock — for example, by affecting contact rates between infected and susceptible individuals, duration of contacts, exposure of airborne pathogens to favorable or unfavorable conditions, and so on. Darla Lindberg and collaborators are combining empirical data with mathematical models to recommend how buliding design can reduce pathogen transmission. For example, we are exploring how airflow within and between poultry sheds can be optimized to reduce the spread of avian influenza.

 

Managing wildlife diseases

Our work on the ecology, evolution and epidemiology of disease has implications for:

  • The design of disease containment and mitigation strategies in wildlife populations
  • Strategies for reducing the probability of zoonoses emerging and persisting in human populations

Management of one wildlife population can impact on disease dynamics in another. For example, modeling by Peter Hudson and collaborators has shown that predator removal can increase disease incidence in prey populations that are regulated by parasitic infections — particularly when the parasite is highly virulent, macroparasites are highly aggregated, hosts are long-lived and the predators select infected prey.