Manore's Research: How Environment Affects Infectious Diseases


LANL Staff Scientist and NMC Affiliate Dr. Carrie A. Manore is researching how changes in the environment affect the risks for emerging infectious diseases, in particular zoonotic and vector-borne diseases. 

Manore, and her team, are creating a hierarchy of multi-scale, integrative models which incorporate nonlinear systems of differential equations, ecological networks, and agent-based models to provide a framework for understanding and mitigating the risk of emerging infectious diseases in a spatially heterogeneous environment.

Manore’s research focuses on a few emerging or potentially emerging infectious diseases in the United States, including West Nile virus, dengue, Rift Valley fever, hantavirus, Zika and chikungunya, with an emphasis on how human mobility, climate, and disturbance of the environment modify risk. Her team extended their work to Zika modeling once the emerging outbreak in the Americas started, publishing a paper on Zika risk in the Eastern United States and estimating the true outbreak sizes in several countries in South and Central America.

Manore is now working with collaborators on extending the true outbreak size estimates to more countries and estimating the number of children with birth defects as a result of the Zika outbreak. Manore’s team is also collaborating with LANL and Tulane to use remote sensing, internet, and socio-economic data to predict and forecast risk in Brazil of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika at the municipality level.

This research aims to inform how emerging disease risk can be mitigated by sustainable management of the environment, including better planning of urban and agricultural expansion, more effective and efficient public health strategies such as use of new technology, increased surveillance and data sharing, and informed choices about human manipulation of the environment and the importance of biodiversity. The ultimate goal is to better inform policy makers about these new and emerging risks.

This work is funded by an award from the NSF Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Fellows (SEES Fellows Program). 

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