LAC Main Seminar Series: Past and Future Spread of Mosquito-Borne Viruses in the Americas

Speaker: Moritz Kraemer

Convener(s): Dr Andreza A de Souza Santos and Dr Carlos A Perez-Ricart

Aedes borne viruses infections such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever are increasing across the world due to climate change and unplanned urbanization. 2019 marked a record breaking epidemic of dengue in the Americas and previous to that large outbreaks of dengue, chikgununya and zika have caused large perturbations in already ill equipped health systems across the Americas. We used maps and models to anticipate the spatial distribution and timing of arrival of these viruses. To do so, novel emerging technologies and data from online resources become ever more reliable so they could be used in automated mapping tools. I will present critical lessons learned from four emerging and re-emerging viruses across the world and showcase potential avenues forward. Future trajectories should focus on rapid data integration and statistical modelling should move towards assessing two key components: identifying the causal relationship between drivers of these diseases and evaluate disease control measures in the absence of licenced and safe vaccines against most of these emerging viruses. Social science approaches will be critical in guiding future control measures.



Moritz's research addresses questions related to the spatial spread of infectious diseases. Specifically he is concerned with the integration of epidemiological, sociological, spatial and genomic data and how novel insights can be best used to reduce the burden of infectious pathogens through effective intervention strategies. Moritz finished his DPhil in 2017 and is now a Branco Weiss Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, an Associate of the Oxford Martin Programme on Pandemic Genomics and associate at Harvard Medical School.