Disease Ecology

The Latest

Forest ecology shapes Lyme disease risk in the eastern US

In the eastern US, risk of contracting Lyme disease is higher in fragmented forests with high rodent densities and low numbers of resident fox, opossum, and raccoons. These are among the findings from an analysis of 19 years of data on the ecology of tick-borne disease in a forested landscape

Rats, cats, and people trade-off as main course for mosquitoes in Baltimore, MD

Social and ecological dynamics of neighborhoods influence who mosquitoes bite

$2M NSF grant harnesses big data & AI to advance disease prevention

Team to develop tools to map areas at risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks with new NSF grant

Bug Hunt

Every July, for four years running, Shannon LaDeau inspected nine ceramic toilets sitting idly in a vacant lot behind a building, near a block of abandoned lots and houses on the edge of the West Baltimore neighborhood of Franklin Square. No, she is not weird. This was for science.

Related Projects

Disease Ecology of Wildlife

Amphibians are important indicators of ecosystem health but are declining globally. A major contributor to amphibian declines is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a pathogenic fungus that causes cutaneous infection in many amphibian species.

Macroecology of Infectious Disease

Environmental changes can impact host-parasite interactions by altering fundamental host behaviors, such as competition, predation, foraging, and sociality.  These environmentally-induced changes to wildlife host communities affect the epidemiology of zoonotic pathogens.

The Tick Project

The Tick Project is testing whether environmental interventions can prevent tick-borne diseases in our communities. The need for prevention is stronger than ever, with expanding tick populations and more than 300,000 Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

Machine Learning to Predict Zoonotic Disease

Why do the majority of human infectious diseases originate from wildlife? Our lab seeks to identify intrinsic characteristics of wild species (e.g., life history, ecological, physiological traits) that signal their potential to be future reservoirs of zoonotic diseases (human diseases with animal origins).

Infectious Hematopoeitic Necrosis Virus (IHNV)

Infectious Hematopoeitic Necrosis Virus (IHNV) is a rhabdovirus threatening endangered populations of wild salmon and thwarting hatchery-led conservation efforts.

Ecological Complexity, Mosquito Production, and Disease Risk

Over the past 50 years, many regions across the globe have experienced a (re)emergence of mosquito-vectored diseases, both due to novel pathogens and those previously eradicated. 

tick collecting

Lyme Disease

Different species of tick hosts tend to have different probabilities of transmitting an infection to a feeding tick. In eastern and central North America, the host most likely to transmit an infection to a feeding tick is the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), which infects between 40% and 90% of feeding larvae.

Spatio-Temporal Variation in West Nile Virus Intensity

West Nile virus emerged in the western hemisphere during the summer of 1999, reawakening public awareness to the potential severity of vector-borne pathogens.

Biodiversity, Community Ecology, and the Dilution Effect

Biodiversity can protect human health by reducing human exposure to diseases transmitted from wildlife. Environmental changes, such as habitat fragmentation, can increase disease risk by reducing both predators and biodiversity.

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