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SPH Brown Bag: Thermal thresholds increase the vulnerability of coastal Los Angeles to temperature-linked increases in West Nile virus transmission
October 15, 2019 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm PDT
Dr. Nicholas Skaff is a postdoctoral scholar in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the Berkeley School of Public Health. His expertise spans the ecology, evolution and epidemiology of vector-borne diseases in changing environments.
Temperature variation across critical threshold ranges can generate highly localized discontinuities in infectious disease transmission. Here, we present results showing that transmission of West Nile virus (WNV), the most common mosquito-borne pathogen in North America, is strongly associated with temperature in coastal, but not inland Los Angeles. We identify through machine learning analysis a narrow threshold temperature range that acts as a strong regulator of WNV transmission and show how this results in abrupt, temperature-associated outbreaks of human WNV only in coastal locations. Our work demonstrates geographically localized vulnerability to climate change, with striking differences occurring across small regions even within a single metropolitan area.