Elle Stephenson, one of our PhD candidates, recently presented her work on Ross River Virus to an audience of almost 400 people at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, at the 16th Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases conference! Congratulations Elle!
Interpreting human notification rates of Australia’s most common arbovirus, Ross River virus, through an ecological lens.
Stephenson, E.(1,2), Murphy, A.(3,4), Jansen, C.(5), Peel, A J.(1), Herrero, L.(2) & McCallum, H.(1)
1. Griffith University, School of Environmental Science, Brisbane, Queensland
2. Institute for Glycomics, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Queensland
3. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland
4. QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland
5. Communicable Diseases Branch, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland
Arboviruses account for approximately 17% of the global human infectious disease burden. The most prevalent arbovirus in Australia, Ross River virus (RRV), is maintained in enzoonotic cycles between mosquitoes and non-human reservoirs, with resultant spillover in human populations. Despite the significant public health (~4800 notifications/year) and economic burden of RRV, key vector-host relationships contributing to RRV transmission remain unclear. We present ecological assessments comparing wildlife composition among Brisbane locations with high or low human RRV notification rates. Taking a novel multidisciplinary approach, we combine data on reservoir abundance with vector surveillance, wildlife serology and human disease notifications. We identify differences in vector-host assemblages between locations of high and low human RRV notifications, and find animal diversity levels correlate with human disease rates. Our findings challenge the existing dogma that marsupials are the primary RRV hosts, and highlight the advantages of using ecological approaches to interpret human disease patterns.
Elle has been doing her Ross River Virus work in collaboration with Brisbane City Council, Queensland Health and QIMR.