Bio


I am a disease ecologist and veterinarian at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station and an Associate Fellow at Stanford's Center for Innovation in Global Health. I am interested in environmental drivers of infectious disease and creative solutions to protect the health of people and the planet. For example, I am working on: 1) biological control of schistosomiasis by restoring a native river prawn that preys on the snail intermediate host, 2) models of disease transmission and how things like connectivity and environmental transmission affect dynamics and control, and 3) designing ecological solutions to disease that mutually benefit human health and the environment.

As Executive Director of Stanford's new Program for Disease Ecology, Health and the Environment, I am helping to build a growing interdisciplinary community at Stanford and beyond interested in discovering and promoting ecological solutions to disease that lead to improved human health and a more sustainable use of the natural environment. As part of this new research program, I founded The Upstream Alliance: a research initiative joining partners across the globe for ecological solutions to reduce the parasitic disease: schistosomiasis, which affects more than 250 million people worldwide.

Academic Appointments


  • Senior Research Scientist, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Administrative Appointments


  • Associate Fellow, Center for Innovation in Global Health (2015 - Present)

Professional Education


  • PhD, University of California Davis, Disease ecology (2008)
  • DVM, University of California Davis, Clinical veterinary medicine (2003)

All Publications


  • Estimating the elimination feasibility in the 'end game' of control efforts for parasites subjected to regular mass drug administration: Methods and their application to schistosomiasis. PLoS neglected tropical diseases Arakala, A., Hoover, C. M., Marshall, J. M., Sokolow, S. H., De Leo, G. A., Rohr, J. R., Remais, J. V., Gambhir, M. 2018; 12 (11): e0006794

    Abstract

    Progress towards controlling and eliminating parasitic worms, including schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, and lymphatic filariasis, is advancing rapidly as national governments, multinational NGOs, and pharmaceutical companies launch collaborative chemotherapeutic control campaigns. Critical questions remain regarding the potential for achieving elimination of these infections, and analytical methods can help to quickly estimate progress towards-and the probability of achieving-elimination over specific timeframes. Here, we propose the effective reproduction number, Reff, as a proxy of elimination potential for sexually reproducing worms that are subject to poor mating success at very low abundance (positive density dependence, or Allee effects). Reff is the number of parasites produced by a single reproductive parasite at a given stage in the transmission cycle, over the parasite's lifetime-it is the generalized form of the more familiar basic reproduction number, R0, which only applies at the beginning of an epidemic-and it can be estimated in a 'model-free' manner by an estimator ('epsilon'). We introduce epsilon, demonstrate its estimation using simulated data, and discuss how it may be used in planning and evaluation of ongoing elimination efforts for a range of parasitic diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006794

    View details for PubMedID 30418968

  • Agrochemicals increase risk of human schistosomiasis by supporting higher densities of intermediate hosts NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Halstead, N. T., Hoover, C. M., Arakala, A., Civitello, D. J., De Leo, G. A., Gambhir, M., Johnson, S. A., Jouanard, N., Loerns, K. A., McMahon, T. A., Ndione, R. A., Nguyen, K., Raffel, T. R., Remais, J. V., Riveau, G., Sokolow, S. H., Rohr, J. R. 2018; 9: 837

    Abstract

    Schistosomiasis is a snail-borne parasitic disease that ranks among the most important water-based diseases of humans in developing countries. Increased prevalence and spread of human schistosomiasis to non-endemic areas has been consistently linked with water resource management related to agricultural expansion. However, the role of agrochemical pollution in human schistosome transmission remains unexplored, despite strong evidence of agrochemicals increasing snail-borne diseases of wildlife and a projected 2- to 5-fold increase in global agrochemical use by 2050. Using a field mesocosm experiment, we show that environmentally relevant concentrations of fertilizer, a herbicide, and an insecticide, individually and as mixtures, increase densities of schistosome-infected snails by increasing the algae snails eat and decreasing densities of snail predators. Epidemiological models indicate that these agrochemical effects can increase transmission of schistosomes. Identifying agricultural practices or agrochemicals that minimize disease risk will be critical to meeting growing food demands while improving human wellbeing.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-018-03189-w

    View details for Web of Science ID 000426049300004

    View details for PubMedID 29483531

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5826950

  • To Reduce the Global Burden of Human Schistosomiasis, Use 'Old Fashioned' Snail Control TRENDS IN PARASITOLOGY Sokolow, S. H., Wood, C. L., Jones, I. J., Lafferty, K. D., Kuris, A. M., Hsieh, M. H., De Leo, G. A. 2018; 34 (1): 23–40

    Abstract

    Control strategies to reduce human schistosomiasis have evolved from 'snail picking' campaigns, a century ago, to modern wide-scale human treatment campaigns, or preventive chemotherapy. Unfortunately, despite the rise in preventive chemotherapy campaigns, just as many people suffer from schistosomiasis today as they did 50 years ago. Snail control can complement preventive chemotherapy by reducing the risk of transmission from snails to humans. Here, we present ideas for modernizing and scaling up snail control, including spatiotemporal targeting, environmental diagnostics, better molluscicides, new technologies (e.g., gene drive), and 'outside the box' strategies such as natural enemies, traps, and repellants. We conclude that, to achieve the World Health Assembly's stated goal to eliminate schistosomiasis, it is time to give snail control another look.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pt.2017.10.002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000423967700007

    View details for PubMedID 29126819

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5819334

  • Heterogeneity in schistosomiasis transmission dynamics JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL BIOLOGY Mari, L., Ciddio, M., Casagrandi, R., Perez-Saez, J., Bertuzzo, E., Rinaldo, A., Sokolow, S. H., De Leo, G. A., Gatto, M. 2017; 432: 87–99

    Abstract

    Simple models of disease propagation often disregard the effects of transmission heterogeneity on the ecological and epidemiological dynamics associated with host-parasite interactions. However, for some diseases like schistosomiasis, a widespread parasitic infection caused by Schistosoma worms, accounting for heterogeneity is crucial to both characterize long-term dynamics and evaluate opportunities for disease control. Elaborating on the classic Macdonald model for macroparasite transmission, we analyze families of models including explicit descriptions of heterogeneity related to differential transmission risk within a community, water contact patterns, the distribution of the snail host population, human mobility, and the seasonal fluctuations of the environment. Through simple numerical examples, we show that heterogeneous multigroup communities may be more prone to schistosomiasis than homogeneous ones, that the availability of multiple water sources can hinder parasite transmission, and that both spatial and temporal heterogeneities may have nontrivial implications for disease endemicity. Finally, we discuss the implications of heterogeneity for disease control. Although focused on schistosomiasis, results from this study may apply as well to other parasitic infections with complex transmission cycles, such as cysticercosis, dracunculiasis and fasciolosis.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jtbi.2017.08.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000411298300009

    View details for PubMedID 28823529

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5595357

  • The spatial spread of schistosomiasis: A multidimensional network model applied to Saint-Louis region, Senegal ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES Ciddio, M., Mari, L., Sokolow, S. H., De Leo, G. A., Casagrandi, R., Gatto, M. 2017; 108: 406–15

    Abstract

    Schistosomiasis is a parasitic, water-related disease that is prevalent in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, causing severe and chronic consequences especially among children. Here we study the spatial spread of this disease within a network of connected villages in the endemic region of the Lower Basin of the Senegal River, in Senegal. The analysis is performed by means of a spatially explicit metapopulation model that couples local-scale eco-epidemiological dynamics with spatial mechanisms related to human mobility (estimated from anonymized mobile phone records), snail dispersal and hydrological transport of schistosome larvae along the main water bodies of the region. Results show that the model produces epidemiological patterns consistent with field observations, and point out the key role of spatial connectivity on the spread of the disease. These findings underline the importance of considering different transport pathways in order to elaborate disease control strategies that can be effective within a network of connected populations.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.advwatres.2016.10.012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000411868400032

    View details for PubMedID 29056816

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5637889

  • Nearly 400 million people are at higher risk of schistosomiasis because dams block the migration of snail-eating river prawns PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Sokolow, S. H., Jones, I. J., Jocque, M., La, D., Cords, O., Knight, A., Lund, A., Wood, C. L., Lafferty, K. D., Hoover, C. M., Collender, P. A., Remais, J. V., Lopez-Carr, D., Fisk, J., Kuris, A. M., De Leo, G. A. 2017; 372 (1722)

    Abstract

    Dams have long been associated with elevated burdens of human schistosomiasis, but how dams increase disease is not always clear, in part because dams have many ecological and socio-economic effects. A recent hypothesis argues that dams block reproduction of the migratory river prawns that eat the snail hosts of schistosomiasis. In the Senegal River Basin, there is evidence that prawn populations declined and schistosomiasis increased after completion of the Diama Dam. Restoring prawns to a water-access site upstream of the dam reduced snail density and reinfection rates in people. However, whether a similar cascade of effects (from dams to prawns to snails to human schistosomiasis) occurs elsewhere is unknown. Here, we examine large dams worldwide and identify where their catchments intersect with endemic schistosomiasis and the historical habitat ranges of large, migratory Macrobrachium spp. prawns. River prawn habitats are widespread, and we estimate that 277-385 million people live within schistosomiasis-endemic regions where river prawns are or were present (out of the 800 million people who are at risk of schistosomiasis). Using a published repository of schistosomiasis studies in sub-Saharan Africa, we compared infection before and after the construction of 14 large dams for people living in: (i) upstream catchments within historical habitats of native prawns, (ii) comparable undammed watersheds, and (iii) dammed catchments beyond the historical reach of migratory prawns. Damming was followed by greater increases in schistosomiasis within prawn habitats than outside prawn habitats. We estimate that one third to one half of the global population-at-risk of schistosomiasis could benefit from restoration of native prawns. Because dams block prawn migrations, our results suggest that prawn extirpation contributes to the sharp increase of schistosomiasis after damming, and points to prawn restoration as an ecological solution for reducing human disease.This article is part of the themed issue 'Conservation, biodiversity and infectious disease: scientific evidence and policy implications'.

    View details for DOI 10.1098/rstb.2016.0127

    View details for Web of Science ID 000399956400008

    View details for PubMedID 28438916

  • Disease ecology, health and the environment: a framework to account for ecological and socio-economic drivers in the control of neglected tropical diseases PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Garchitorena, A., Sokolow, S. H., Roche, B., Ngonghala, C. N., Jocque, M., Lund, A., Barry, M., MORDECAI, E. A., Daily, G. C., Jones, J. H., Andrews, J. R., Bendavid, E., Luby, S. P., LaBeaud, A. D., Seetah, K., Guegan, J. F., Bonds, M. H., De Leo, G. A. 2017; 372 (1722)

    Abstract

    Reducing the burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is one of the key strategic targets advanced by the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the unprecedented effort deployed for NTD elimination in the past decade, their control, mainly through drug administration, remains particularly challenging: persistent poverty and repeated exposure to pathogens embedded in the environment limit the efficacy of strategies focused exclusively on human treatment or medical care. Here, we present a simple modelling framework to illustrate the relative role of ecological and socio-economic drivers of environmentally transmitted parasites and pathogens. Through the analysis of system dynamics, we show that periodic drug treatments that lead to the elimination of directly transmitted diseases may fail to do so in the case of human pathogens with an environmental reservoir. Control of environmentally transmitted diseases can be more effective when human treatment is complemented with interventions targeting the environmental reservoir of the pathogen. We present mechanisms through which the environment can influence the dynamics of poverty via disease feedbacks. For illustration, we present the case studies of Buruli ulcer and schistosomiasis, two devastating waterborne NTDs for which control is particularly challenging.This article is part of the themed issue 'Conservation, biodiversity and infectious disease: scientific evidence and policy implications'.

    View details for DOI 10.1098/rstb.2016.0128

    View details for Web of Science ID 000399956400009

    View details for PubMedID 28438917

  • Big-data-driven modeling unveils country-wide drivers of endemic schistosomiasis SCIENTIFIC REPORTS Mari, L., Gatto, M., Ciddio, M., Dia, E. D., Sokolow, S. H., De Leo, G. A., Casagrandi, R. 2017; 7

    Abstract

    Schistosomiasis is a parasitic infection that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, where it represents a major health problem. We study the drivers of its geographical distribution in Senegal via a spatially explicit network model accounting for epidemiological dynamics driven by local socioeconomic and environmental conditions, and human mobility. The model is parameterized by tapping several available geodatabases and a large dataset of mobile phone traces. It reliably reproduces the observed spatial patterns of regional schistosomiasis prevalence throughout the country, provided that spatial heterogeneity and human mobility are suitably accounted for. Specifically, a fine-grained description of the socioeconomic and environmental heterogeneities involved in local disease transmission is crucial to capturing the spatial variability of disease prevalence, while the inclusion of human mobility significantly improves the explanatory power of the model. Concerning human movement, we find that moderate mobility may reduce disease prevalence, whereas either high or low mobility may result in increased prevalence of infection. The effects of control strategies based on exposure and contamination reduction via improved access to safe water or educational campaigns are also analyzed. To our knowledge, this represents the first application of an integrative schistosomiasis transmission model at a whole-country scale.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-00493-1

    View details for Web of Science ID 000397528600021

    View details for PubMedID 28352101

  • Global Assessment of Schistosomiasis Control Over the Past Century Shows Targeting the Snail Intermediate Host Works Best. PLoS neglected tropical diseases Sokolow, S. H., Wood, C. L., Jones, I. J., Swartz, S. J., Lopez, M., Hsieh, M. H., Lafferty, K. D., Kuris, A. M., Rickards, C., De Leo, G. A. 2016; 10 (7)

    Abstract

    Despite control efforts, human schistosomiasis remains prevalent throughout Africa, Asia, and South America. The global schistosomiasis burden has changed little since the new anthelmintic drug, praziquantel, promised widespread control.We evaluated large-scale schistosomiasis control attempts over the past century and across the globe by identifying factors that predict control program success: snail control (e.g., molluscicides or biological control), mass drug administrations (MDA) with praziquantel, or a combined strategy using both. For data, we compiled historical information on control tactics and their quantitative outcomes for all 83 countries and territories in which: (i) schistosomiasis was allegedly endemic during the 20th century, and (ii) schistosomiasis remains endemic, or (iii) schistosomiasis has been "eliminated," or is "no longer endemic," or transmission has been interrupted.Widespread snail control reduced prevalence by 92 ± 5% (N = 19) vs. 37 ± 7% (N = 29) for programs using little or no snail control. In addition, ecological, economic, and political factors contributed to schistosomiasis elimination. For instance, snail control was most common and widespread in wealthier countries and when control began earlier in the 20th century.Snail control has been the most effective way to reduce schistosomiasis prevalence. Despite evidence that snail control leads to long-term disease reduction and elimination, most current schistosomiasis control efforts emphasize MDA using praziquantel over snail control. Combining drug-based control programs with affordable snail control seems the best strategy for eliminating schistosomiasis.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004794

    View details for PubMedID 27441556

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4956325

  • Infection with schistosome parasites in snails leads to increased predation by prawns: implications for human schistosomiasis control JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY Swartz, S. J., De Leo, G. A., Wood, C. L., Sokolow, S. H. 2015; 218 (24): 3962-3967

    View details for DOI 10.1242/jeb.129221

    View details for Web of Science ID 000366645500015

    View details for PubMedID 26677260

  • A Theoretical Analysis of the Geography of Schistosomiasis in Burkina Faso Highlights the Roles of Human Mobility and Water Resources Development in Disease Transmission PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES Perez-Saez, J., Mari, L., Bertuzzo, E., Casagrandi, R., Sokolow, S. H., De Leo, G. A., Mande, T., Ceperley, N., Froehlich, J., Sou, M., Karambiri, H., Yacouba, H., Maiga, A., Gatto, M., Rinaldo, A. 2015; 9 (10)

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004127

    View details for Web of Science ID 000364459600033

    View details for PubMedID 26513655

  • Reduced transmission of human schistosomiasis after restoration of a native river prawn that preys on the snail intermediate host PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Sokolow, S. H., Huttinger, E., Jouanard, N., Hsieh, M. H., Lafferty, K. D., Kuris, A. M., Riveau, G., Senghor, S., Thiam, C., N'Diaye, A., Faye, D. S., De Leo, G. A. 2015; 112 (31): 9650-9655

    Abstract

    Eliminating human parasitic disease often requires interrupting complex transmission pathways. Even when drugs to treat people are available, disease control can be difficult if the parasite can persist in nonhuman hosts. Here, we show that restoration of a natural predator of a parasite's intermediate hosts may enhance drug-based schistosomiasis control. Our study site was the Senegal River Basin, where villagers suffered a massive outbreak and persistent epidemic after the 1986 completion of the Diama Dam. The dam blocked the annual migration of native river prawns (Macrobrachium vollenhoveni) that are voracious predators of the snail intermediate hosts for schistosomiasis. We tested schistosomiasis control by reintroduced river prawns in a before-after-control-impact field experiment that tracked parasitism in snails and people at two matched villages after prawns were stocked at one village's river access point. The abundance of infected snails was 80% lower at that village, presumably because prawn predation reduced the abundance and average life span of latently infected snails. As expected from a reduction in infected snails, human schistosomiasis prevalence was 18 ± 5% lower and egg burden was 50 ± 8% lower at the prawn-stocking village compared with the control village. In a mathematical model of the system, stocking prawns, coupled with infrequent mass drug treatment, eliminates schistosomiasis from high-transmission sites. We conclude that restoring river prawns could be a novel contribution to controlling, or eliminating, schistosomiasis.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1502651112

    View details for Web of Science ID 000358930600060

    View details for PubMedID 26195752

  • Pathogenesis of Human Schistosomiasis Emerging and Re-emerging Human Infections Le, T., Sokolow, S. H., Hamam, O., Fu, C., Hsieh, M. H. Wiley and Sons Publishers. 2015
  • Ocean Health Handbook of Ocean Resources and Management Micheli, F., De Leo, G. A., Ferretti, F., Honey, K., Kroeker, K., Martone, R. G., McCauley, D. G., O'Leary, J., Rosim, D., Sokolow, S. H., Stock, A., Wood, C. L. Earthscan (UK). 2015
  • The Prawn Macrobrachium vollenhovenii in the Senegal River Basin: Towards Sustainable Restocking of All-Male Populations for Biological Control of Schistosomiasis. PLoS neglected tropical diseases Savaya Alkalay, A., Rosen, O., Sokolow, S. H., Faye, Y. P., Faye, D. S., Aflalo, E. D., Jouanard, N., Zilberg, D., Huttinger, E., Sagi, A. 2014; 8 (8)

    Abstract

    Early malacological literature suggests that the outbreak of schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease transmitted by aquatic snails, in the Senegal River basin occurred due to ecological changes resulting from the construction of the Diama dam. The common treatment, the drug praziquantel, does not protect from the high risk of re-infection due to human contact with infested water on a daily basis. The construction of the dam interfered with the life cycle of the prawn Macrobrachium vollenhovenii by blocking its access to breeding grounds in the estuary. These prawns were demonstrated to be potential biological control agents, being effective predators of Schistosoma-susceptible snails. Here, we propose a responsible restocking strategy using all-male prawn populations which could provide sustainable disease control. Male prawns reach a larger size and have a lower tendency to migrate than females. We, therefore, expect that periodic restocking of all-male juveniles will decrease the prevalence of schistosomiasis and increase villagers' welfare. In this interdisciplinary study, we examined current prawn abundance along the river basin, complemented with a retrospective questionnaire completed by local fishermen. We revealed the current absence of prawns upriver and thus demonstrated the need for restocking. Since male prawns are suggested to be preferable for bio-control, we laid the molecular foundation for production of all-male M. vollenhovenii through a complete sequencing of the insulin-like androgenic gland-encoding gene (IAG), which is responsible for sexual differentiation in crustaceans. We also conducted bioinformatics and immunohistochemistry analyses to demonstrate the similarity of this sequence to the IAG of another Macrobrachium species in which neo-females are produced and their progeny are 100% males. At least 100 million people at risk of schistosomiasis are residents of areas that experienced water management manipulations. Our suggested non-breeding sustainable model of control-if proven successful-could prevent re-infections and thus prove useful throughout the world.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003060

    View details for PubMedID 25166746

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4148216

  • Sapronosis: a distinctive type of infectious agent. Trends in parasitology Kuris, A. M., Lafferty, K. D., Sokolow, S. H. 2014; 30 (8): 386-393

    Abstract

    Sapronotic disease agents have evolutionary and epidemiological properties unlike other infectious organisms. Their essential saprophagic existence prevents coevolution, and no host-parasite virulence trade-off can evolve. However, the host may evolve defenses. Models of pathogens show that sapronoses, lacking a threshold of transmission, cannot regulate host populations, although they can reduce host abundance and even extirpate their hosts. Immunocompromised hosts are relatively susceptible to sapronoses. Some particularly important sapronoses, such as cholera and anthrax, can sustain an epidemic in a host population. However, these microbes ultimately persist as saprophages. One-third of human infectious disease agents are sapronotic, including nearly all fungal diseases. Recognition that an infectious disease is sapronotic illuminates a need for effective environmental control strategies.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pt.2014.06.006

    View details for PubMedID 25028088

  • Regulation of laboratory populations of snails (Biomphalaria and Bulinus spp.) by river prawns, Macrobrachium spp. (Decapoda, Palaemonidae): Implications for control of schistosomiasis. Acta tropica Sokolow, S. H., Lafferty, K. D., Kuris, A. M. 2014; 132: 64-74

    Abstract

    Human schistosomiasis is a common parasitic disease endemic in many tropical and subtropical countries. One barrier to achieving long-term control of this disease has been re-infection of treated patients when they swim, bathe, or wade in surface fresh water infested with snails that harbor and release larval parasites. Because some snail species are obligate intermediate hosts of schistosome parasites, removing snails may reduce parasitic larvae in the water, reducing re-infection risk. Here, we evaluate the potential for snail control by predatory freshwater prawns, Macrobrachium rosenbergii and M. vollenhovenii, native to Asia and Africa, respectively. Both prawn species are high value, protein-rich human food commodities, suggesting their cultivation may be beneficial in resource-poor settings where few other disease control options exist. In a series of predation trials in laboratory aquaria, we found both species to be voracious predators of schistosome-susceptible snails, hatchlings, and eggs, even in the presence of alternative food, with sustained average consumption rates of 12% of their body weight per day. Prawns showed a weak preference for Bulinus truncatus over Biomphalaria glabrata snails. Consumption rates were highly predictable based on the ratio of prawn: snail body mass, suggesting satiation-limited predation. Even the smallest prawns tested (0.5-2g) caused snail recruitment failure, despite high snail fecundity. With the World Health Organization turning attention toward schistosomiasis elimination, native prawn cultivation may be a viable snail control strategy that offers a win-win for public health and economic development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.12.013

    View details for PubMedID 24388955

  • Predictive Power of Air Travel and Socio-Economic Data for Early Pandemic Spread PLOS ONE Hosseini, P., Sokolow, S. H., Vandegrift, K. J., Kilpatrick, A. M., Daszak, P. 2010; 5 (9)

    Abstract

    Controlling the pandemic spread of newly emerging diseases requires rapid, targeted allocation of limited resources among nations. Critical, early control steps would be greatly enhanced if the key risk factors can be identified that accurately predict early disease spread immediately after emergence.Here, we examine the role of travel, trade, and national healthcare resources in predicting the emergence and initial spread of 2009 A/H1N1 influenza. We find that incorporating national healthcare resource data into our analyses allowed a much greater capacity to predict the international spread of this virus. In countries with lower healthcare resources, the reporting of 2009 A/H1N1 cases was significantly delayed, likely reflecting a lower capacity for testing and reporting, as well as other socio-political issues. We also report substantial international trade in live swine and poultry in the decade preceding the pandemic which may have contributed to the emergence and mixed genotype of this pandemic strain. However, the lack of knowledge of recent evolution of each H1N1 viral gene segment precludes the use of this approach to determine viral origins.We conclude that strategies to prevent pandemic influenza virus emergence and spread in the future should include: 1) enhanced surveillance for strains resulting from reassortment in traded livestock; 2) rapid deployment of control measures in the initial spreading phase to countries where travel data predict the pathogen will reach and to countries where lower healthcare resources will likely cause delays in reporting. Our results highlight the benefits, for all parties, when higher income countries provide additional healthcare resources for lower income countries, particularly those that have high air traffic volumes. In particular, international authorities should prioritize aid to those poorest countries where both the risk of emerging infectious diseases and air traffic volume is highest. This strategy will result in earlier detection of pathogens and a reduction in the impact of future pandemics.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0012763

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281815800025

    View details for PubMedID 20856678

  • Allometry and spatial scales of foraging in mammalian herbivores ECOLOGY LETTERS Laca, E. A., Sokolow, S., Galli, J. R., Cangiano, C. A. 2010; 13 (3): 311-320

    Abstract

    Herbivores forage in spatially complex habitats. Due to allometry and scale-dependent foraging, herbivores are hypothesized to perceive and respond to heterogeneity of resources at scales relative to their body sizes. This hypothesis has not been manipulatively tested for animals with only moderate differences in body size and similar food niches. We compared short-term spatial foraging behavior of two herbivores (sheep and cattle) with similar dietary niche but differing body size. Although intake rates scaled allometrically with body mass (mass(0.75)), spatial foraging strategies substantially differed, with cattle exhibiting a coarser-grained use of the 'foodscape.' Selectivity by cattle (and not sheep) for their preferred food was more restricted when patches were smaller (< 10 m(2)). We conclude that differences in spatial scales of selection offers a plausible mechanism by which species can coexist on shared resources that exhibit multiple scales of spatial heterogeneity.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01423.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000274713200005

    View details for PubMedID 20100240

  • Ecology of avian influenza viruses in a changing world YEAR IN ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION BIOLOGY 2010 Vandegrift, K. J., Sokolow, S. H., Daszak, P., Kilpatrick, A. M. 2010; 1195: 113-128

    Abstract

    Influenza A virus infections result in approximately 500,000 human deaths per year and many more sublethal infections. Wild birds are recognized as the ancestral host of influenza A viruses, and avian viruses have contributed genetic material to most human viruses, including subtypes H5N1 and H1N1. Thus, influenza virus transmission in wild and domestic animals and humans is intimately connected. Here we review how anthropogenic change, including human population growth, land use, climate change, globalization of trade, agricultural intensification, and changes in vaccine technology may alter the evolution and transmission of influenza viruses. Evidence suggests that viral transmission in domestic poultry, spillover to other domestic animals, wild birds and humans, and the potential for subsequent pandemic spread, are all increasing. We highlight four areas in need of research: drivers of viral subtype dynamics; ecological and evolutionary determinants of transmissibility and virulence in birds and humans; the impact of changing land use and climate on hosts, viruses, and transmission; and the impact of influenza viruses on wild bird hosts, including their ability to migrate while shedding virus.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05451.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282828200007

    View details for PubMedID 20536820

  • Effects of a changing climate on the dynamics of coral infectious disease: a review of the evidence DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS Sokolow, S. 2009; 87 (1-2): 5-18

    Abstract

    A close examination of the coral disease literature reveals many hypothesized mechanisms for how coral disease may be linked to climate change. However, evidence has been largely circumstantial, and much uncertainty remains. Here, I review the latest information on both the predicted effects of climate change in coastal marine ecosystems and current research on coral-pathogen dynamics in relation to climate variables. The published evidence supports the hypothesis that coral infectious diseases are emerging and demonstrates that coral disease research has been exponentially expanding over the last few decades. Current research suggests that environmental factors, such as ocean warming, altered rainfall, increased storm frequency, sea level rise, altered circulation, and ocean acidification may play a role in coral disease. These climate variables likely alter coral epidemiology through effects on pathogen growth rates, transmission, virulence, and susceptibility. Despite recent advances, discovering the causes of coral disease emergence at large spatial and temporal scales has been hindered by several factors including (1) the inability to rely on Koch's postulates for diseases with multifactorial etiologies, (2) the paucity of long-term, coordinated, coral disease data, and (3) the difficulty in detecting correlations in inherently non-linear, dynamic disease systems. In a rapidly changing global environment, the consequences of increasing coral disease may be severe, leading to elevated extinction risk and loss of critical reef habitat. Current evidence is still preliminary but is increasingly suggestive that mitigating the effects of climate change may help reduce the emergence of disease and improve the health of coral reef ecosystems.

    View details for DOI 10.3354/dao02099

    View details for Web of Science ID 000272675600002

    View details for PubMedID 20095237

  • Editor's choice: Disease dynamics in marine metapopulations: modelling infectious diseases on coral reefs JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY Sokolow, S. H., Foley, P., Foley, J. E., Hastings, A., Richardson, L. L. 2009; 46 (3): 621-631
  • Causal inference in disease ecology: investigating ecological drivers of disease emergence FRONTIERS IN ECOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT Plowright, R. K., Sokolow, S. H., Gorman, M. E., Daszak, P., Foley, J. E. 2008; 6 (8): 420-429

    View details for DOI 10.1890/070086

    View details for Web of Science ID 000260158300018

  • Spatial epidemiology of Caribbean yellow band syndrome in Montastrea spp. coral in the eastern Yucatan, Mexico HYDROBIOLOGIA Foley, J. E., Sokolow, S. H., Girvetz, E., Foley, C. W., Foley, P. 2005; 548: 33-40
  • Epidemiologic evaluation of diarrhea in dogs in an animal shelter AMERICAN JOURNAL OF VETERINARY RESEARCH Sokolow, S. H., Rand, C., Marks, S. L., Drazenovich, N. L., Kather, E. J., Foley, J. E. 2005; 66 (6): 1018-1024

    Abstract

    To determine associations among infectious pathogens and diarrheal disease in dogs in an animal shelter and demonstrate the use of geographic information systems (GISs) for tracking spatial distributions of diarrheal disease within shelters.Feces from 120 dogs.Fresh fecal specimens were screened for bacteria and bacterial toxins via bacteriologic culture and ELISA, parvovirus via ELISA, canine coronavirus via nested polymerase chain reaction assay, protozoal cysts and oocysts via a direct fluorescent antibody technique, and parasite ova and larvae via microscopic examination of direct wet mounts and zinc sulfate centrifugation flotation.Salmonella enterica and Brachyspira spp were not common, whereas other pathogens such as canine coronavirus and Helicobacter spp were common among the dogs that were surveyed. Only intestinal parasites and Campylobacterjejuni infection were significant risk factors for diarrhea by univariate odds ratio analysis. Giardia lamblia was significantly underestimated by fecal flotation, compared with a direct fluorescent antibody technique. Spatial analysis of case specimens by use of GIS indicated that diarrhea was widespread throughout the entire shelter, and spatial statistical analysis revealed no evidence of spatial clustering of case specimens.This study provided an epidemiologic overview of diarrhea and interacting diarrhea-associated pathogens in a densely housed, highly predisposed shelter population of dogs. Several of the approaches used in this study, such as use of a spatial representation of case specimens and considering multiple etiologies simultaneously, were novel and illustrate an integrated approach to epidemiologic investigations in shelter populations.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000229404800016

    View details for PubMedID 16008226