Jolyon Medlock, Lisa Jameson
Health Protection Agency, Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology, Porton Down, United Kingdom.
Emerging Health Threats Journal, 2010, 3:e1. doi: 10.3134/ehtj.10.001.
Pathogens associated with vector-borne zoonoses occur in enzootic cycles within nature. They are driven by a combination of vertebrate host and invertebrate vector population dynamics, which in turn respond to changes in environmental stimuli. Human involvement in these cycles, and hence the occurrence of human disease, is often to act as incidental hosts. From a public health perspective our ability to better predict human outbreaks of these diseases and prepare intervention and mitigation strategies relies upon understanding the natural cycle of pathogen transmission. This requires consideration of for example, invertebrate and vertebrate ecology and biology, climatology, land use and habitat change. Collectively these can be referred to as medical entomology and medical ecology. This paper reviews the importance for inclusion of such disciplines when assessing the public health risk from vector-borne zoonoses and summarises the possible future challenges and driving forces for changes in vector status and vector-borne zoonoses emergence, with a particular focus on a UK and European context.
Read the article: "Ecological approaches to informing public-health policy and risk assessments on emerging vector-borne zoonoses"
VBORNET comment: 2010-11-30
Medlock and Jameson discuss in this paper how an ecological approach could and should inform public health policy and risk assessments on emerging vector-borne zoonoses, with focus on a UK and European context. They stress that with an ecological perspective, the risk assessment processes are in some occasions speeded up, complicated in others or guided to the weakest point in the transmission cycle and consequently to more efficient and effective intervention measures. Others authors have preceded them in discussing the complexity of these infections and role of multiple drivers for emergence, but have often stayed in using generic terms. By using appealing examples from their own work at the Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology (MEZE) group, Health Protection Agency, non-medical entomologists will be able to appreciate the complexity and the future challenges of emerging vector borne zoonoses, and the necessity to take the ecology into account to prevent major errors, to avoid pitfalls or not to miss opportunities to lower disease burden or threats.