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Title: Mapping the global distribution of zoonoses of public health importance
Author: Pigott, David Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 4071
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Medical cartography can provide valuable insights into the epidemiology and ecology of infectious diseases, providing a quantitative representation of the distribution of these pathogens. Such methods therefore provide a key step in informing public health policy decisions ranging from prioritising sites for further investigation to identifying targets for interventions. By increasing the resolution at which risk is defined, policymakers are provided with an increasingly informed approach for considering next steps as well as evaluating past progress. In spite of their benefits however, global maps of infectious disease are lacking in both quality and comprehensiveness. This thesis sets out to investigate the next steps for medical cartography and details the use of species distribution models in evaluating global distributions of a variety of zoonotic diseases of public health importance. Chapter 2 defines a methodology by which global targets for infectious disease mapping can be quantitatively assessed by comparing the global burden of each disease with the demand from national policymakers, non-governmental organisations and academic communities for global assessments of disease distribution. Chapter 3 introduces the use of boosted regression trees for mapping the distribution of a group of vector-borne diseases identified as being a high priority target, the leishmaniases. Chapter 4 adapts these approaches to consider Ebola virus disease. This technique shows that the West African outbreak was ecologically consistent with past infections and suggests a much wider area of risk than previously considered. Chapter 5 investigates Marburg virus disease and considers the variety of different factors relating to all aspects of the transmission cycle that must be considered in these analyses. Chapters 6 and 7 complete the mapping of the suite of viral haemorrhagic fevers by assessing the distribution of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and Lassa fever. Finally, Chapter 8 considers the risk that these viral haemorrhagic fevers present to the wider African continent, quantifying potential risk of spillover infections, local outbreaks and more widespread infection. This thesis addresses important information gaps in global knowledge of a number of pathogens of public health importance. In doing so, this work provides a template for considering the global distribution of a number of other zoonotic diseases.
Supervisor: Hay, Simon Sponsor: Sir Richard Southwood Graduate Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Species distribution modelling ; Public health ; Infectious disease ; Epidemiology ; Zoonosis