Weekly Wave - Climate, Public Health, and Infectious Disease in the Sonoran Desert
April 10, 2020
Water Resources Research Center,
April 10, 2020
Terms such as "flattening the curve," "disease vectors," and other discussions of epidemiology have become commonplace as COVID-19 has spread throughout our communities. As society is developing a renewed interest and appreciation for public health, Kacey Ernst, Associate Professor and Program Director of Epidemiology at the UArizona College of Public Health, gave a timely presentation on her work on infectious disease for a WRRC Brown Bag Webinar on Wednesday, April 8. Ernst's presentation, entitled "Human-environment dynamics in the Sonoran Desert and Ae. aegypti, the vector of dengue, Zika, and chikungunya," detailed her research on the interplay between anthropogenic and environmental factors driving the abundance of Ae. aegypti mosquitos in our desert urban landscapes. Of particular interest, Ernst described research that uses regional temperature, humidity, and precipitation data to predict local Ae. aegypti abundance and estimate how these conditions affect disease transmission. In the future, these models can be incorporated into early warning systems that promotes public awareness and action with location-specific alerts such as "Only two days left before mosquitos in your area will hatch. Take action now to eliminate standing water."