Until recently, the only ways to trace the spread of disease have been to 1) identify the pathogen microscopically and classify it on the basis of appearance (phenotypically) or 2) identify the occurrence of resulting disease based upon secondary reports, or upon “syndromic surveillance”–the appearance of signs and symptoms that are characteristic of a particular disease.
A number of molecular epidemiologists and a few geographers have been using molecular techniques and genomic sequencing to trace the spread of pathogens (disease causing microbes) based upon characteristic genomic markers, or upon identification of identical genotypic strains. My team and I are doing this with tuberculosis transmission chains in Ghana. In the January 28th edition of Science,
Croucher and his group report on the use of such techniques to identify the spread and evolution of a particularly virulent strain of one of the major causes of bacterial pneumonia, which causes significant morbidity and mortality. The bacterium, formally called Streptococcus pneuomoniae, and popularly called pneumococcus, is the bacterium covered by the “pneumonia shot” that is recommended for adults >/= 65 years old. Commenting on the article, Enright and Spratt (p. 407) emphasize the importance of using molecular techniques for understanding spatial spread, as well as genomic evolution, particularly in rapidly evolving pathogens.
One might imagine geography departments with labs that have the capability for DNA or RNA sequencing, or increasing collaboration between “epidemiologic geographers,” molecular epidemiologists, and genome scientists, in order to synthesize those with interests in globalization, transportation, settlement patterns, and spread of pathogens.
Pro-MED reported today that a case of cholera has been diagnosed in New York City. This is not a major public health threat in itself, but it represents the first appearance of this severe infection in The City in decades, and could be a harbinger of what is to come. A reasonable hypothesis is that its appearance reflects travel patterns: the disease was transferred from Haiti’s island neighbor, the Dominican Republic. There is a great deal of travel between the DR and New York. Haiti is currently undergoing a major epidemic of cholera, largely because of the breakdown of public health measures following last year’s earthquake, and the concentration of thousands of displaced persons in refugee camps with only rudimentary sanitation facilities. Cholera can result in death within < 1 day in the most serious cases because of the electrolyte imbalances from uncontrolled diarrhea, and oral or IV rehydration, plus antibiotics (doxycycline or ciprofloxacin or similar drugs) are the only treatments. It all “boils” down to water.
Pro-MED is the “Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases,” which is a “medium tech” listserve designed to report outbreaks to the global health community. It is sponsored by the International Society for Infectious Diseases, and can be found at promedmail.org. It represents the first attempt to include all interested subscribers in the “peoples’” surveillance system.
There are a few very interesting talks happening this week at UW which may be of interest to Geography majors. If you’re interested in Chinese history; the role of religious militancy in constructing the conflict between the ‘Judeo-Christian West’ and Islam; the ways in which the built environment affects health related behaviors; ocean acidification and its impacts on fishing industries; disability history and activism; or the impacts of transnational migration on urbanization and the ’21st century city,’ then there’s a talk for you!
“Ancestral Leaves: A Family Journey Through Chinese History”
WHEN: Tuesday, February 8 at 7:00 pm
WHERE: Walker-Ames Room, Kane Hall
SPEAKER: Joseph Esherick, Professor of modern Chinese history at UCLA
OTHER INFORMATION: Read the article in UW Today
“Holocaust, Armageddon, and the Clash of Civilizations “
WHEN: Tuesday, February 8 at 7:30 pm
WHERE: 210 Kane Hall
SPEAKER: Professor Michael Sells, University of Chicago
OTHER INFORMATION: Read the article in UW Today
“How the built environment affects behavior: recent research in active
transportation and health”
WHEN: Wednesday, February 9 at 12:30 pm
WHERE: 409 Savery
SPEAKER: Anne Vernez Moudon, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design and Planning, UW
DETAILS: For the past decade, the Urban Form Lab (UFL) has collected a large database of integrated geospatial data for the Puget Sound Region to support research on the effects of the built and social environments on behavior. Specific research has addressed such topics as land monitoring, neighborhood design, active transportation, active lifestyles, and access to food environments, with grants from the U.S. and Washington State Departments of Transportation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and local agencies. The UFL environmental data can now be integrated with objective data on the location and activity of individuals in continuous space and time. Location and behavior are measured in small temporal increments (~30 sec.) and tracked within large spatial areas (>2,000 km2).
“Souring Oceans, Dissolving Shellfish, and the Cure for Cowardly Lions”
WHEN: Thursday, February 10 at 4:30 pm
WHERE: 102 Fishery Sciences
SPEAKER: Brad Warren, Director, Productive Oceans Partnership, a program of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
DETAILS: Documented evidence of ocean acidification has raised widespread concerns about the future of seafood supplies that help to feed about 3 billion people, according to UNEP. Are industrial society’s swelling emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other acidifying substances starting to erode these resources? If so, can we whip this problem, or is it time to hide under the bed?
OTHER INFORMATION: This is a part of the Bevan Series on Sustainable Fisheries
“Memorializing Mad People’s History: Preserving our Past through Archives and Activism”
WHEN: Thursday, February 10 at 6:00 pm
WHERE: 220 Odegaard
SPEAKER: Geoffrey Reaume, York University, Disability Studies
OTHER INFORMATION: This is part of the “Unspeakable: Disability History, Identity, and Rights” film & lecture series.
“Transcultural Urbanism: Immigrants in the City”
WHEN: Friday, February 11 at 6:30 pm
WHERE: 120 Kane
DETAILS: The 21st century city is inevitably global and local, dislodging boundaries between nation states as well as public and private realms. This panel investigates the impact of these transformations on cities at both the macro and micro scales. Trans-national cross-currents between cities and within neighborhoods require cross-cultural understanding of urban spaces and how transcultural processes can transform future cities. The panel will also look at particular urban building forms ranging from micro-urban housing to new civic spaces.
OTHER INFORMATION: This is a part of the NOW Urbanism: City Making in the 21st Century and Beyond lecture series
The Seattle International Foundation (SIF) was founded as a supporting organization to The Seattle Foundation for the purpose of increasing and enhancing international philanthropy and global development efforts in the Pacific Northwest and to serve as a resource to our community. SIF’s financial support is very strategic in nature. It seeks to bring about changes in attitudes and practices that lead to social change, greater equity in opportunity and reductions in poverty. SIF’s regional focus is Central America and SIF’s investment areas are:
• Women’s leadership;
• Youth leadership;
• Social enterprise;
• The rule of law.
Organization: The Seattle International Foundation
Address: 500 Union Street, Suite 801 Seattle, WA 98101
Title: Social Media, Research and Program Support intern
Commitment: 15-20 hours a week
• Develop a social media and communication strategy related to development issues in Latin America.
• Create a blog to serve as an online network for organizations to communicate and find relevant resources and news in the region.
• Follow news related to international development, poverty alleviation, and philanthropy to share relevant articles with key audiences.
• Be familiar with the landscape of online platforms and networks related to Latin America, global development, international philanthropy and the areas of interest of the Foundation.
• Find innovative solutions to SIF’s communications and social media needs.
• Understand and be able to apply the concept of usability to SIF’s web pages.
• Able to work independently
• Strong interest / knowledge about Cuba required
• Strong communications skills, especially producing professional reports and concisely summarizing research assignments
• Excellent research skills
• Experience in international development
• Experience with grant making and the nature of foundation work a plus
• Enthusiastic and shows initiative in advancing the mission of the Foundation
• Facility with computer programs, including Microsoft Office programs, Adobe Contribute, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, Adobe Acrobat Pro, database experience preferred
• Facility with social media tools such as Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, Google Reader, etc.
• Knowledge of and ability to navigate related blogs and online information sources
How to Apply:
Please send cover letter and resume to email@example.com