Forecasting distribution of waterborne pathogens in the Chesapeake Bay: Vibrio cholerae case study

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 11:35 AM
B301 (GWCC)
Guillaume Constantin de Magny, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Vector-borne diseases have long been recognized to be climate driven, but it is now clear that many infectious diseases are intricately related to weather patterns, climate, and seasonality. Epidemics of cholera, a devastating disease occurring predominantly in developing countries, has been shown to be directly correlated with environmental parameters, including rainfall, sea surface temperature, sea surface height, chlorophyll a concentration, and salinity, among others. Recent studies incorporating satellite sensing technology, ground truth measurements, and microbiological analyses have provided the basis for predictive modeling of cholera epidemics in Bangladesh, India, and East Africa. A project which aimed to improve the understanding of environmental factors associated with occurrence and distribution of the causative agent of cholera, Vibrio cholerae, in time and space was developed over the Chesapeake Bay. The system that was developed provides real-time as well as short term to seasonal forecasts of the likelihood of occurrence of V. cholerae in the Chesapeake Bay.

When the ecology of Vibrio cholerae is considered in preparing predictive models, a robust early warning system for waterborne diseases, like cholera, in different regions of the world can be developed that are useful for public health planning and decision making.