Evolutionary Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
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Evolutionary Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases

About the Book

Infectious diseases remain a major burden for human health, in particular in poor countries: HIV, malaria, measles, diarrhoeal disease and respiratory infections are responsible for more than half of our premature death. Evolution is the driving force of the epidemiology of these diseases. An obvious example is the evolution of resistance following the use of drugs against pathogens or resistance following the use of insecticides against disease vectors. Every year antibiotic resistance costs the US health system more than 20 billion dollars, forces patients to spend an additional 8 million days in hospital and leads to several thousand additional deaths. An other is the evolution of a parasite to jump from its original host to humans to start, for example, epidemics of SARS or ebola. Other consequences of evolution are more subtle: that parasites manipulate our behavjour, causing, for example, more traffic accidents or influencing the choice of whom we have children with; that our vaccines and medicine, despite all of their obvious benefits, might eventually make our parasites more lethal.

Evolutionary Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases brings evolutionary ideas in contact with epidemiology to discuss these and other questions about the evolution of infectious diseases. Written as a textbook for a one-semester course, it gives an evolutionary framework for the study of parasite biology, combining theory with empirical examples. While its examples deal with a wide diversity of parasites, it applies the concepts to the parasites of humans wherever possible. 

The topics of the book are (i) manipulation of behaviour by parasites, (ii) evolution of virulence, (iii) evolution of the host in response to infection, (iv) basics of mathematical epidemiology, (v) evolutionary aspects of the control of infectious diseases, and (vi) emergence of infectious diseases.

About the Author

Jacob Koella
Jacob Koella

Jacob Koella is a professor of evolutionary biology and parasitology at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland. 

With the equivalent of Master's degree in mechanical engineering (specialising in systems dynamics), a Phd in evolutionary ecology and several years experience working on the epidemiology of malaria in Tanzania, he conducts a considerable part of his research on mathematical theory combining the epidemiology and evolutionary ecology of parasites.

He teaches courses on mathematical modelling, parasitology and evolutionary ecology at the University of Neuchatel and at the ETH Zurich.

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Introduction
    • Take-home points
  • Manipulation
    • Is manipulation good for the parasite?
    • Manipulation by malaria parasites
    • Take-home points
  • Evolution of virulence
    • Evidence that virulence can evolve
    • Basic theory
    • Alternative ideas
    • Vaccine-driven evolution of virulence
    • Take-home points
  • Defence by host
    • Pre-infection defence
    • Post-infection defence
    • Why isn’t there more resistance?
    • Take-home points
  • Mathematical epidemiology
    • Basic reproductive number
    • Mathematical formulation
    • Basic reproductive number of a vector-borne disease
    • An epidemiological model of co-evolution
    • Take-home points
  • Evolutionary aspects of the control of infectious diseases
    • Drug treatment
    • Insecticides
    • Genetic engineering of vectors
    • Take-home points
  • Emerging infectious diseases
    • Genetics of emergence
    • Ecology of emergence
    • Take-home points
    • Appendix
  • Epilogue
  • Solutions to problems
    • Introduction
    • Manipulation
    • Evolution of virulence
    • Evolution of the host
    • Epidemiology
    • Control
    • Emerging diseases
  • Notes

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