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E-IPER Dissertation Defense : Andrea Lund

Date and Time: 
June 2, 2020 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Zoom Webinar
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Event Sponsor: 
Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources

Zoom Webinar

"Human-environment dynamics in the eco-epidemiology of schistosomiasis"

Human schistosomiasis is parasitic disease that affects 200 million people worldwide and is second only to malaria the global burden of parasitic disease. The transmission of human schistosomes occurs between people and freshwater snails. People become infected when free-swimming parasite larvae exit a snail and penetrate the skin of someone who is wading, bathing or otherwise in contact with the water. The occurrence of schistosomiasis is often elevated in settings where water has been actively managed for food or energy production. The environmental change caused by constructing dam or irrigation infrastructure creates suitable snail habitat, but it also alters the ways in which people interact with their environment. This dissertation contributes to our understanding of how social and environmental factors interact to perpetuate schistosome transmission in the lower basin of the Senegal River, a dammed landscape where schistosomiasis has become endemic. I use qualitative and quantitative data collected from focus group discussions and household surveys in 16 villages to understand how socio-environmental circumstances influence exposure to and contribute to risk for schistosome infection and its associated morbidities. First, I examine local perspectives of schistosomiasis risk in the environment and reported preventive behaviors. Second, I investigate whether land use at the household level influences risk for infection. And finally, I evaluate the relative importance of three components of risk – exposure, hazard and vulnerability – in the acquisition and accumulation of schistosome infection. Results highlight the need for environmental interventions to complement existing pharmaceutical-based schistosomiasis control efforts.