Erin A. Mordecai's research while affiliated with Stanford University and other places

Publications (169)

Article
Background Billions of people living in poverty are at risk of environmentally mediated infectious diseases—that is, pathogens with environmental reservoirs that affect disease persistence and control and where environmental control of pathogens can reduce human risk. The complex ecology of these diseases creates a global health problem not easily...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Effectively controlling heartworm disease-a major parasitic disease threatening animal health in the US and globally-requires understanding the local ecology of mosquito vectors involved in transmission. However, the key vector species in a given region are often unknown and challenging to identify. Here we investigate (i) the key vect...
Preprint
Full-text available
Spatio-temporal distribution of leishmaniasis, a parasitic vector-borne zoonotic disease, is significantly impacted by land-use change and climate warming in the Americas. However, predicting and containing outbreaks is challenging as the zoonotic Leishmania system is highly complex: Leishmaniasis (visceral, cutaneous and muco-cutaneous) in human...
Article
Our world is undergoing rapid planetary changes driven by human activities, often mediated by economic incentives and resource management, affecting all life on Earth. Concurrently, many infectious diseases have recently emerged or spread into new populations. Mounting evidence suggests that global change—including climate change, land-use change,...
Article
Full-text available
The globalization of mosquito-borne arboviral diseases has placed more than half of the human population at risk. Understanding arbovirus ecology, including the role individual mosquito species play in virus transmission cycles, is critical for limiting disease. Canonical virus-vector groupings, such as Aedes - or Culex -associated flaviviruses, ha...
Preprint
Full-text available
The incidence of vector-borne diseases is rising as deforestation, climate change, and globalization bring humans in contact with arthropods that can transmit pathogens. In particular, incidence of American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (ACL), a parasitic disease transmitted by sandflies, is increasing as previously intact habitats are cleared for agricu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne illness in the continental United States. WNV occurrence has high spatiotemporal variation and current approaches for targeted control of the virus are limited, making forecasting a public health priority. However, little research has been done to compare strengths and weaknes...
Article
Parasitism is expected to change in a warmer future, but whether warming leads to substantial increases in parasitism remains unclear. Understanding how warming effects on parasitism in individual hosts (e.g., parasite load) translate to effects on population‐level parasitism (e.g., prevalence, R0) remains a major knowledge gap. We conducted a lite...
Preprint
Temperature can influence mosquito-borne diseases like dengue. These effects are expected to vary geographically and over time in both magnitude and direction and may interact with other environmental variables, making it difficult to anticipate changes in response to climate change. Here, we investigate global variation in temperature–dengue relat...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 continues to be a public health crisis, while severely impacting global financial markets causing significant economic and social hardship. As with any emerging disease, pharmaceutical interventions required time, emphasizing the initial and continuing need for non-pharmaceutical interventions. We highlight the role of anthropological and...
Preprint
Full-text available
During infectious disease outbreaks, individuals may adopt protective measures like vaccination and physical distancing in response to awareness of disease burden. Prior work showed how feedback between epidemic intensity and awareness-based behavior shapes disease dynamics (e.g., producing plateaus and oscillations). These models often overlook so...
Preprint
Full-text available
The globalization of mosquito-borne arboviral diseases has placed more than half of the human population at risk. Understanding arbovirus ecology, including the role individual mosquito species play in virus transmission cycles, is critical for limiting disease. Canonical virus-vector groupings, such as Aedes - or Culex -associated flaviviruses, ha...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale: Avoiding excess health damages attributable to climate change is a primary motivator for policy interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the health benefits of climate mitigation, as included in the policy assessment process, have been estimated without much input from health experts. Objectives: In accordance with r...
Article
Full-text available
Arboviruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti (e.g., dengue, chikungunya, Zika) are of major public health concern on the arid coastal border of Ecuador and Peru. This high transit border is a critical disease surveillance site due to human movement-associated risk of transmission. Local level studies are thus integral to capturing the dynamics and dist...
Preprint
Full-text available
Our world is undergoing rapid planetary changes driven by human activities, often mediated by economic incentives and resource management, affecting all life on Earth. Concurrently, many infectious diseases have recently emerged or spread into new populations. Mounting evidence suggests that global change-including climate change, land-use change,...
Article
Background: As COVID-19 began to spread worldwide, local socioeconomic and health factors and nonpharmaceutical interventions may have affected epidemiological outcomes. To investigate the associations between public health orders, behavior, and population factors, and early epidemic dynamics, we investigated variation among counties in the U.S. st...
Article
Human-mediated changes to natural ecosystems have consequences for both ecosystem and human health. Historically, efforts to preserve or restore 'biodiversity' can seem to be in opposition to human interests. However, the integration of biodiversity conservation and public health has gained significant traction in recent years, and new efforts to i...
Article
Full-text available
Competitive exclusion can be classified as deterministic or as historically contingent. While competitive exclusion is common in nature, it has remained unclear when multispecies communities formed by more than two species should be dominated by deterministic or contingent exclusion. Here, we take a fully parameterised model of an empirical competi...
Article
Identifying the effects of environmental change on the transmission of vectorborne and zoonotic diseases is of fundamental importance in the face of rapid global change. Causal inference approaches, including instrumental variable (IV) estimation, hold promise in disentangling plausibly causal relationships from observational data in these complex...
Preprint
Human-mediated changes to natural ecosystems have consequences for both ecosystem and human health. Historically, efforts to preserve or restore ‘biodiversity’ can seem to be in opposition to human interests. However, the integration of biodiversity conservation and public health has gained significant traction in recent years, and new efforts to i...
Article
Mathematical models of epidemics are important tools for predicting epidemic dynamics and evaluating interventions. Yet, because early models are built on limited information, it is unclear how long they will accurately capture epidemic dynamics. Using a stochastic SEIR model of COVID-19 fitted to reported deaths, we estimated transmission paramete...
Preprint
The integration of biodiversity conservation and public health has gained significant traction, leading to new efforts to identify win–win solutions for the environment and health. At the forefront of these efforts is pin-pointing ways in which biodiversity conservation can reduce risk of zoonotic spillover, especially given the consequences of epi...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying the key vector and host species that drive the transmission of zoonotic pathogens is notoriously difficult but critical for disease control. We present a nested approach for quantifying the importance of host and vectors that integrates species' physiological competence with their ecological traits. We apply this framework to a medicall...
Article
Full-text available
The potential for adaptive evolution to enable species persistence under a changing climate is one of the most important questions for understanding impacts of future climate change. Climate adaptation may be particularly likely for short-lived ectotherms, including many pest, pathogen, and vector species. For these taxa, estimating climate adaptiv...
Preprint
The integration of biodiversity conservation and public health has gained significant traction, leading to new efforts to identify win-win solutions for sustainable development and health. At the forefront of these efforts is pinpointing ways that biodiversity conservation can reduce risk of zoonotic spillover, especially given the consequences of...
Preprint
The integration of biodiversity conservation and public health has gained significant traction, leading to new efforts to identify win-win solutions for sustainable development and health. At the forefront of these efforts is pinpointing ways that biodiversity conservation can reduce risk of zoonotic spillover, especially given the consequences of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Patterns of land-use can affect the transmission of many infectious diseases with human health implications; yet, applied ecosystem service models have rarely accounted for disease transmission risk. A mechanistic understanding of how land-use changes alter infectious disease transmission would help to target public health interventions and to mini...
Article
Full-text available
Several plant pathogenic Parastagonospora species have been identified infecting wheat and other cereals over the past 50 years. As new lineages were discovered, naming conventions grew unwieldy and the relationships with previously recognized species remained unclear. We used genome sequencing to clarify relationships among these species and provi...
Article
Full-text available
When a rare pathogen emerges to cause a pandemic, it is critical to understand its dynamics and the impact of mitigation measures. We use experimental data to parametrize a temperature-dependent model of Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission dynamics and analyse the effects of temperature variability and control-related parameters on the basic reproductio...
Article
Full-text available
Vector‐borne diseases (VBDs) are embedded within complex socio‐ecological systems. While research has traditionally focused on the direct effects of VBDs on human morbidity and mortality, it is increasingly clear that their impacts are much more pervasive. VBDs are dynamically linked to feedbacks between environmental conditions, vector ecology, di...
Preprint
Full-text available
To investigate the impact of local public health orders, behavior, and population factors on early epidemic dynamics, we investigated variation among counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. We conducted regressions to identify predictors of (1) local public health orders, (2) mobility as a proxy for behavior, and (3) epidemiological outcomes (i.e.,...
Article
Full-text available
Experiments and models suggest that climate affects mosquito‐borne disease transmission. However, disease transmission involves complex nonlinear interactions between climate and population dynamics, which makes detecting climate drivers at the population level challenging. By analysing incidence data, estimated susceptible population size, and cli...
Article
Full-text available
Climate drives population dynamics through multiple mechanisms, which can lead to seemingly context-dependent effects of climate on natural populations. For climate-sensitive diseases, such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, climate appears to have opposing effects in different contexts. Here we show that a model, parameterized with laboratory measu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Identifying the key vector and host species driving transmission is notoriously difficult for vector-borne zoonoses, but critical for disease control. Here, we present a general approach for quantifying the role hosts and vectors play in transmission that integrates species’ physiological competence with their ecological traits. We apply this model...
Article
Full-text available
In the aftermath of the 2015 pandemic of Zika virus (ZIKV), concerns over links between climate change and emerging arboviruses have become more pressing. Given the potential that much of the world might remain at risk from the virus, we used a previously established temperature‐dependent transmission model for ZIKV to project climate change impact...
Chapter
The transmission of vector-borne diseases is sensitive to environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, rainfall, and land use/habitat quality. Understanding these causal relationships is especially important as increasing anthropogenic changes drive shifts in vector-borne disease dynamics. In this chapter, we first briefly describe th...
Preprint
Full-text available
Parasitism – the interaction between a parasite and its host – is expected to change in a warmer future, but the direction and magnitude of this change is uncertain. One challenge is understanding whether warming effects will be similar on individual hosts (e.g., parasite burden) compared to on population-level parasitism (e.g., prevalence, R 0 )....
Article
Full-text available
Disease transmission is notoriously heterogeneous, and SARS-CoV-2 is no exception. A skewed distribution where few individuals or events are responsible for the majority of transmission can result in explosive, superspreading events, which produce rapid and volatile epidemic dynamics, especially early or late in epidemics. Anticipating and preventi...
Article
Full-text available
The role of infectious disease in regulating host populations is increasingly recognized, but how environmental conditions affect pathogen communities and infection levels remains poorly understood. Over 3 y, we compared foliar disease burden, fungal pathogen community composition, and foliar chemistry in the perennial bunchgrass Stipa pulchra occu...
Article
Lyme disease is the most common vector‐borne disease in temperate zones and a growing public health threat in the United States (US). The life cycles of the tick vectors and spirochete pathogen are highly sensitive to climate, but determining the impact of climate change on Lyme disease burden has been challenging due to the complex ecology of the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Accurately predicting and mitigating the effects of climate change on species ranges and interactions is a critical challenge. In particular, mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue are poised to shift with climate change. Understanding this impact hinges on a key open question: How will mosquitoes adapt to climate change? Here we adapt a s...
Article
The densities of highly competent plant hosts (i.e. those that are susceptible to and successfully transmit a pathogen) may shape pathogen community composition and disease severity, altering disease risk and impacts. Life history and evolutionary history can influence host competence; longer lived species tend to be better defended than shorter li...
Preprint
Full-text available
Experiments and models suggest that climate affects mosquito-borne disease transmission. However, disease transmission involves complex nonlinear interactions between climate and population dynamics, which makes detecting climate drivers at the population level challenging. By analyzing incidence data, estimated susceptible population size, and cli...
Preprint
Full-text available
Competitive exclusion can be classified as deterministic or as historically contingent. While competitive exclusion is the norm in nature, it has remained unclear when multispecies communities should be dominated by deterministic or contingent exclusion. Here, we provide a general theoretical approach to explain both the emergence and sources of co...
Article
Full-text available
The temperature-dependence of many important mosquito-borne diseases has never been quantified. These relationships are critical for understanding current distributions and predicting future shifts from climate change. We used trait-based models to characterize temperature-dependent transmission of 10 vector–pathogen pairs of mosquitoes (Culex pipi...
Article
Full-text available
The temperature-dependence of many important mosquito-borne diseases has never been quantified. These relationships are critical for understanding current distributions and predicting future shifts from climate change. We used trait-based models to characterize temperature-dependent transmission of 10 vector-pathogen pairs of mosquitoes (Culex pipi...
Article
Full-text available
The temperature-dependence of many important mosquito-borne diseases has never been quantified. These relationships are critical for understanding current distributions and predicting future shifts from climate change. We used trait-based models to characterize temperature-dependent transmission of 10 vector–pathogen pairs of mosquitoes (Culex pipi...
Article
Full-text available
Malaria is a long-standing public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa, whereas arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) such as dengue and chikungunya cause an under-recognised burden of disease. Many human and environmental drivers affect the dynamics of vector-borne diseases. In this Personal View, we argue that the direct effects of warming temper...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Aedes-borne diseases, such as dengue and chikungunya, are responsible for more than 50 million infections worldwide every year, with an overall increase of 30-fold in the last 50 years, mainly due to city population growth, more frequent travels and ecological changes. In the United States of America, the vast majority of Aedes-borne infections are...
Article
Full-text available
Models predicting disease transmission are vital tools for long-term planning of malaria reduction efforts, particularly for mitigating impacts of climate change. We compared temperature-dependent malaria transmission models when mosquito life-history traits were estimated from a truncated portion of the lifespan (a common practice) versus traits m...
Article
Full-text available
Aedes-borne diseases, such as dengue and chikungunya, are responsible for more than 50 million infections worldwide every year, with an overall increase of 30-fold in the last 50 years, mainly due to city population growth, more frequent travels and ecological changes. In the United States of America, the vast majority of Aedes-borne infections are...
Preprint
Full-text available
Disease transmission is notoriously heterogeneous, and SARS-CoV-2 is no exception. A skewed distribution where few individuals or events are responsible for the majority of transmission can result in explosive, superspreading events, which produce rapid and volatile epidemic dynamics, especially early or late in epidemics. Anticipating and preventi...
Article
Full-text available
Many important endemic and emerging diseases are transmitted by vectors that are biting arthropods. The functional traits of vectors can affect pathogen transmission rates directly and also through their effect on vector population dynamics. Increasing empirical evidence shows that vector traits vary significantly across individuals, populations, a...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the aftermath of the 2015 pandemic of Zika virus, concerns over links between climate change and emerging arboviruses have become more pressing. Given the potential that much of the world might remain at risk from the virus, we use a model of thermal bounds on Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission to project climate change impacts on transmission suita...
Preprint
The extent to which vector-borne diseases (VBDs) have shaped human history remains under-recognized, even in the disease ecology community, despite several well-known examples. Although they represent a significant threat to global human health, accounting for more than one billion cases and one million deaths annually, VBDs have coexisted with hum...
Preprint
Full-text available
Arboviruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti (e.g., dengue, chikungunya, Zika) are of major public health concern on the arid coastal border of Ecuador and Peru. This high transit border is a critical disease surveillance site due to human movement-associated risk of transmission. Local level studies are thus integral to capturing the dynamics and dist...
Preprint
Full-text available
The densities of highly competent plant hosts may shape pathogen community composition and disease severity, altering disease risk and impacts. Life history and evolutionary history influence host competence: longer-lived species tend to be better defended than shorter-lived species and pathogens adapt to infect species with which they have longer...
Preprint
Full-text available
The temperature-dependence of many important mosquito-borne diseases has never been quantified. These relationships are critical for understanding current distributions and predicting future shifts from climate change. We used trait-based models to characterize temperature-dependent transmission of 10 vector–pathogen pairs of mosquitoes ( Culex pip...
Preprint
Full-text available
Non-pharmaceutical interventions to combat COVID-19 transmission have worked to slow the spread of the epidemic but can have high socio-economic costs. It is critical we understand the efficacy of non-pharmaceutical interventions to choose a safe exit strategy. Many current models are not suitable for assessing exit strategies because they do not a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Climate drives population dynamics, but when the underlying mechanisms are unresolved, studies can lead to seemingly contradictory effects of climate on natural populations. Climate-sensitive vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika are one example where climate appears to have opposing effects in different contexts. In this stud...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in temperate zones and a growing public health threat in the US. Tick life cycles and disease transmission are highly sensitive to climatic conditions but determining the impact of climate change on Lyme disease burden has been challenging due to the complex ecology of the disease and...
Article
Full-text available
The disease ecology community has struggled to come to consensus on whether biodiversity reduces or increases infectious disease risk, a question that directly affects policy decisions for biodiversity conservation and public health. Here, we summarize the primary points of contention regarding biodiversity–disease relationships and suggest that ve...
Preprint
Full-text available
When a formerly rare pathogen emerges to cause a pandemic, it is critical to understand the ecology of the disease dynamics and its potential affects on disease control. Here, we take advantage of newly available experimental data to parameterize a temperature-dependent dynamical model of Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission, and analyze the effects of t...
Article
Full-text available
A wide range of research has promised new tools for forecasting infectious disease dynamics, but little of that research is currently being applied in practice, because tools do not address key public health needs, do not produce probabilistic forecasts, have not been evaluated on external data, or do not provide sufficient forecast skill to be use...
Article
Significance Widespread human impacts on the environment are expected to harm human health, which may in turn alter our interactions with the environment. However, evidence for impacts of environmental changes on health, and for feedbacks between environmental change and health, remains locally specific and context dependent. Using a large, geospat...
Article
Full-text available
Mosquito‐borne diseases cause a major burden of disease worldwide. The vital rates of these ectothermic vectors and parasites respond strongly and nonlinearly to temperature and therefore to climate change. Here, we review how trait‐based approaches can synthesise and mechanistically predict the temperature dependence of transmission across vectors...
Article
Disease emergence events, epidemics and pandemics all underscore the need to predict zoonotic pathogen spillover. Because cross-species transmission is inherently hierarchical, involving processes that occur at varying levels of biological organization, such predictive efforts can be complicated by the many scales and vastness of data potentially r...
Article
Full-text available
Many (re)emerging infectious diseases in humans arise from pathogen spillover from wildlife or livestock, and accurately predicting pathogen spillover is an important public health goal. In the Americas, yellow fever in humans primarily occurs following spillover from non-human primates via mosquitoes. Predicting yellow fever spillover can improve...