Symposium 07: Connecting the dots: Environmental Disturbance and Human Health.

Organized by Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases Unit; Department of Virology and Emerging Infections. NAMRU-6, Peru.

The human need (greed?) for natural resources has resulted in migration into previously uninhabited environments, affecting natural habitats. This perturbation produces changes in land use, brings human and wild animals populations into closer contact and in the process induces biodiversity loss.

One aspect of these new interactions, that is sometimes overlooked, is the potential transmission of pathogens between animals and humans, leading to the emergence and re-emergence of zoonotic diseases like rabies, or hemorrhagic fevers.

In 2004 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared that agricultural expansion, urbanization and habitat destruction “comprise some of the major drivers of zoonotic disease emergence” (WHO/FAO/OIE, 2004). However, research on habitat perturbation is usually oriented toward the direct consequences on the surrounding flora and fauna as well as on the human societal consequences. Only a few studies have focused on the risk of emerging infectious diseases as a consequence of habitat destruction, although associations with increased transmission of various pathogens, including West Nile virus and hantaviruses have been reported.

Habitat fragmentation has the potential to influence the distribution and abundance of wildlife species and pathogens they carry. Perturbation affects biodiversity, changing communities via both species loss and entry of new, more disturbance-tolerant species. Changes in the species community can also result in change in the microbial community, with the potential for shifting patterns of transmission of zoonotic pathogens to humans.

Biodiversity loss is not only impacting climate change, water and food security or species extinction; it directly affects human health.

This symposium seeks to gather pertinent studies within the tropical Andes region to round up solid evidence uncovering the closely linked dynamics between biodiversity and disease emergence. It also looks to highlight multidisciplinary approaches for biodiversity conservation, disease prevention, and adaptation to climate change.

Symposium program: (October 15, 2015).

13:30 – 13:40: .Symposium opening. Claudia Guezala. Institution: Naval Medical Research Unit - 6 (NAMRU-6).

13:40 – 14:00: Dried Blood Spots and ELISA Technology: Field-Friendly Methods for Quantifying Epstein-Barr Virus Antibodies in an Indigenous Community in the Northern Peruvian Amazon. Speaker: Paula Skye Tallman. Institution: Field Museum of Natural History.

14:00 – 14:20: Health survey in free-ranging white-lipped peccary populations in the Southern Peruvian Amazon. Speaker: Mónica R. Solorio.

Authors: Solorio, R.M (1), Ferreira Neto, J (2), Gennari, S.M (2), Soares, H.S (2), Vasconcellos, S.A (2), Villalobos, E.M.C (3), Ruiz, V.L.A (4), Alcázar, P (5), Zuñiga, C.A (6) and Ferreira, F (2). Institutions: (1) Animal Health in the Amazon, Federal University of Pará, (2) Veterinary Preventive Medicine Department, University of São Paulo, (3) Instituto Biologico de São Paulo, (4) Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo, (5) Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), Perú, (6) Conservación de Recursos Forestales, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina.

14:20 – 14:40: A Framework for Mapping Zoonotic Disease Risks across Changing Landscapes. Speaker: A. Townsend Peterson. Institution: The University of Kansas.

14:40 – 15:00: Mapping tropical forests in Amazon from PALSAR and MODIS imagery. Speaker: Xiangming Xiao.

Authors: Xiao, X (1), Qin, Y (1), Dong, J (1). Institutions: (1) Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, Center for Spatial Analysis, University of Oklahoma.

15:00 – 15:20: Human disturbance and ecology of rodent-borne diseases: a One Health approach. Speaker: Catherine Dupont.

Authors: Dupont, J.C (1), Salmon-Mulanovic, G (1), Guezala, M.C (1), Garcia, L (2), Cooper, P (3), Hartinger, S (4), Xiao, X (5), Paz-Soldan, V (4,6), Pacheco, V (7), Peterson, A.T (8), Carrol, D (9),  Mills, J (10) and Bausch, D.G (6,11). Institutions: (1) U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6, Perú, (2) Universidad de San Simón, Cochabamba, Bolivia, (3) Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Ecuador, (4) Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Perú, (5) Oklahoma University, USA, (6) Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans LA, USA, (7) Museo de Historia Natural, UNMSM, Perú, (8) Kansas University, USA, (9) Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, (10) Emory University, USA, (11) World Health Organization (WHO), Switzerland.

15:30 – 16:00: Coffee break.

16:00 – 16:30: Health and vulnerabilities of communities along Inter-Oceanic Highway in Madre de Dios, Peru. Speaker: Valerie A. Paz-Soldan.

Authors: Valerie A. Paz-Soldan (1), Hartinger-Peña, S.M (2, 3, 4), Salmon Mulanovich G (5), Powell A.R (1, 2), Schwarz L (6), Baquerizo V (2) and Bausch D.G (1). Institutions: (1) Tulane University, LA,  (2) Facultad de Salud Pública y Administración, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, (3) Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland, (4) University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland, (5), NAMRU: US Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6, Peru, and (6) McGill University, Montreal.

16:30 – 17:00: Closing remarks: round table with the presenters. Q&A session. Closure.

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