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J Vector Ecol. 2008 Dec;33(2):218-24.

Interdisciplinary research in the ecology of vector-borne diseases: opportunities and needs.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1692, USA.


In addition to their importance to human and animal health, vector-borne diseases are fascinating systems to study. The involvement of multiple species whose biologies and life cycles cover differing space and time scales makes it extremely difficult to predict epidemics. A single environmental factor may have opposite impacts on the system at different points in time. Patchiness at different geographical scales may have very different causes, so it is important to identify the proper scale for a particular study. New developments in remote sensing, GIS, and spatial analysis make it easier to tease out causes of observed patchiness. Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential for many of the projects we carry out, but this requires awareness of the differences between disciplines and the ability to effectively communicate with each other. It is only by forming multi-disciplinary groups to focus on specific vector-host-pathogen systems that we will be able to answer the most interesting (and pressing) problems in our field.

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