An Ecological Framework for Modeling the Geography of Disease Transmission.

Affiliation

EcoHealth Alliance, 460 W. 34th Street, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Ecological niche modeling (ENM) is widely employed in ecology to predict species' potential geographic distributions in relation to their environmental constraints and is rapidly becoming the gold-standard method for disease risk mapping. However, given the biological complexity of disease systems, the traditional ENM framework requires reevaluation. We provide an overview of the application of ENM to disease systems and propose a theoretical framework based on the biological properties of both hosts and parasites to produce reliable outputs resembling disease system distributions. Additionally, we discuss the differences between biological considerations when implementing ENM for distributional ecology and epidemiology. This new framework will help the field of disease ecology and applications of biogeography in the epidemiology of infectious diseases.

Keywords

disease biogeography,disease risk,ecological niche modeling,host-space,parasites,

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