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Spatial Epidemiology and Disease Ecology

Genetic relatedness of deer populations can have an impact on their susceptibility for contracting disease. The Fst values among these populations of deer in northern Illinois help to determine how their genetic structure is related to Chronic Wasting Disease.

Genetic relatedness of deer populations can have an impact on their susceptibility for contracting disease. The Fst values among these populations of deer in northern Illinois help to determine how their genetic structure may make them more susceptible to Chronic Wasting Disease.

The Geographic Information Science and Spatial Epidemiology (GISSA) lab is located in the College of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Illinois. The mission of GISSA is to improve the health of people, animals and the environment through scientific enquiry that identifies the causes of health disparities across time and locations. We use maps, data synthesis, statistical methods, and spatio-temporal models to reveal important patterns, forecast future conditions, and develop actionable knowledge to inform policies and methods to reduce illnesses and ensure a health environment.

What we do:

  • Spatial epidemiology, models and statistical analysis for complex and dynamic systems
  • Spatiotemporal data development from multiple sources to increase spatial intelligence
  • Community mapping and implementation of spatial sciences for public health
  • Education and training in Geographic information systems and modeling.
  • Data collection, surveys, and sampling design using location-based mobile applications, data loggers, field data collection and in-person investigations

Tick borne

Spatial and temporal risk of disease

Models built on statistical analyses that take into 
account disease processes and the environmental and social differences across time and space. 
 Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases are of particular interest. Representative publications on spatial risk written by our group include several on West Nile virus, including our foundational 2004 paper by Ruiz et al. that revealed why some neighborhoods in the Chicago region had higher rates of West Nile virus than others. This was expanded to consider weather conditions and mosquito infection in a follow-up paper by Messina et al. in 2011. The increase in tick-borne illnesses in Illinois was the focus of a collaboration that resulted in mapping and analysis of the spread of human and canine cases of four tick-borne illnesses – also illustrated by the map to the left.

 

MIR

Weather, water and health

The effects of variable temperature and precipitation on health 
events of people and animals with a special focus on water resources.

 

Water Well Depths

Geographic Information Science for public health

The implementation of health 
informatics with a spatial component for use by local health departments and other agencies.

 

Brownfields Near Residential

Dynamic urban environments and neighborhood health

The complexities of 
interactions between people, animals and arthropod vectors that influence how 
neighborhoods influence the health of residents.

 

corridor analysis

Movement patterns of people and animals

Measuring and modeling the space-time 
dimensions of human and animal migration, circulation and interaction.

Robin Tracking