Ecology of Infectious Diseases* [CRN 83297 Course] [CRN 83298 Recitation]

Discipline: Botany/Zoology
Instructor: Huyvaert
Credits: 4
Day: A
Start: 1240
End: 1400
Field Work: Day 3 (Portugal) / Day 2 (Costa Rica) | Portugal
Prerequisites: One (1) upper division Ecology course Download Syllabus

Emerging infectious diseases – those diseases that we see occurring at new, higher rates or in new places—are important for their impacts on the health of humans, domestic animals, and wildlife around the world. In this course, we will examine the basic principles and theory of disease ecology including the distribution and environmental determinants of disease, disease control, and the medical detective work required to better understand when, where, why and how infectious diseases emerge and spread in and among human, veterinary, and wildlife systems.  We will use a One Health approach to learn how interdisciplinary collaborations can create innovative solutions to health issues at the crossroads of people, animals, and the environment. The Semester at Sea voyage will allow students to study global patterns of infectious disease emergence and to witness the impacts that global environmental change is having on health and disease.


*Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.

Field Work

Country: Portugal
Day: 3 (Portugal) / Day 2 (Costa Rica)

Field Class 1:

Portugal, September 28

While we all know that “Water is life”, the first epidemiologist, John Snow, showed us that water can also be deadly through the transmission of deadly disease pathogens at water sources. During this first field class to the architectural marvel that is the Lisbon Aqueduct, we will consider the importance of clean water and clean ways to get water in preventing infectious diseases so that we can deepen our understanding of key concepts in epidemiology and disease transmission.

Field Class 2:

Costa Rica, December 12

One Health is the concept that the health of animals, people, and the places we all share depends on an integrated approach that transcends any one discipline or group. During this field class, we will deepen our understanding of the ways that humans and animals can and do interact as these are the interfaces where shared disease transmission can occur through visits to Parque Nacional Braulio Carillo and the Toucan Rescue Ranch. During our visits, we will connect with different practitioners to talk about the challenges and rewards of working towards a ‘One Healthier’ world.

Learning Objectives:
1. Collect observational data on interactions among people, wildlife, and domestic animals;
2. Reflect on the ways that these interactions can lead to infectious disease transmission;
3. Formulate an understanding of the One Health concept based on observations and conversations with practitioners; and
4. Evaluate whether One Health is a useful concept for wildlife conservation, domestic animal health, and public health.