Coffee Hour: A world without measles? the ecology of eradication

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 3:30pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m. The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.


About the talk

Though the global reduction of measles disease through vaccination is heralded a one of humanity's great public health triumphs, measles still results in 400–500 childhood deaths per day. Thus, understanding the ecological dynamics that allow the persistence of this infection, despite dramatic control efforts, is of both practical and intellectual importance, as understanding these mechanisms may translate to the design of control programs to reduce or eradicate other pathogens. The interaction of non-linear and stochastic dynamics make quantitative evaluation of progress towards measles elimination a challenge. Studying the comparative epidemiology of measles in the vicinity of the threshold for endemic persistence can provide insights into metrics to evaluate public health efforts and prioritize regions that are critical to elimination. Our work reveals that the interaction of transmission dynamics and health system access across multiple spatial scales are critical to the understanding measles persistence, outbreak risk, and optimal strategies to achieve elimination.

About the speaker

Matthew FerrariMatthew Ferrari is an assistant professor of biology and statistics at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State. His research combines population dynamic models and computational statistical methods to study the dynamics of pathogen transmission in space and time in human, animal, and plant systems. For the last decade, Ferrari has employed these methods to develop quantitative assessment of vaccine interventions and forward projections of candidate vaccination strategies to facilitate decision and policy making. His work emphasizes the need for incorporation of local demographic and epidemiological context in both the prediction and retrospective evaluation of transmission dynamics and the formal incorporation of parametric and model uncertainty in model-based decision-making. Ferrari has been on the faculty at Penn State since 2010, but has worked closely with national and international public health organizations throughout his tenure. In 2010 he was a visiting research fellow at Epicentre: Medecins Sans Frontieres, Paris, and he maintains an ongoing project with the World Health Organization on the development of statistical methods for the estimation of the burden of measles mortality worldwide. In addition, he has ongoing research projects with the US-CDC, China CDC, and The Gavi Alliance on measles dynamics and vaccination. In addition to his research efforts, Ferrari is the lead faculty member on the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled Epidemics: the dynamics of infectious diseases on the Coursera platform. Over the last 3 years the course has reached over 75,000 learners on over 190 countries.

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