1.3 Modeling and communicating plague risk in Uganda

Monday, 24 January 2011: 11:30 AM
4C-2 (Washington State Convention Center)
Andrew J. Monaghan, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and M. H. Hayden, R. J. Eisen, K. L. Gage, K. S. Griffith, and E. Zielinski-Gutierrez

Plague, a primarily flea-borne bacterial zoonosis caused by Yersinia pestis, is often fatal if appropriate antibiotic therapy is delayed or inadequate. In recent decades, the majority of human plague cases have been reported from East Africa and Madagascar. From 1999-2007, approximately 2,000 suspect human plague cases were reported from the West Nile region in northwestern Uganda. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases, is working to improve the diagnoses and treatment of plague in Uganda. Plague occurrence is closely associated with temperature and rainfall patterns, and therefore CDC is collaborating with The National Center for Atmospheric Research to advance the prediction and communication of plague risk. The collaborative CDC/NCAR work includes the following activities:

1. Raising awareness among local health care providers, environmental health specialists and the public of when and where humans are most at risk of exposure to Y. pestis, to aid in targeting limited resources for prevention and control;

2. Training local health care providers to diagnose and report plague cases, so that prompt treatment can be sought and administered;

3. Developing numerical models that simulate the spatial and temporal variability of plague cases, so that plague-prone areas can be identified and potential plague outbreaks can be predicted in advance.

The presentation will provide a summary of recent field work that addresses (1) and (2) above, as well as an overview of the high-resolution climate modeling that supports (3).

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