Biological and cultural coevolution and emerging infectious disease: Ross River virus in Australia

Weinstein, Philip, Judge, Debra and Carver, Scott (2011) Biological and cultural coevolution and emerging infectious disease: Ross River virus in Australia. Medical Hypotheses, 76 6: 893-896. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2011.03.001


Author Weinstein, Philip
Judge, Debra
Carver, Scott
Title Biological and cultural coevolution and emerging infectious disease: Ross River virus in Australia
Journal name Medical Hypotheses   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0306-9877
1532-2777
Publication date 2011-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.03.001
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 76
Issue 6
Start page 893
End page 896
Total pages 4
Place of publication Kidlington, U.K.
Publisher Churchill Livingstone
Language eng
Subject 2700 Medicine
Abstract Enhanced virulence of pathogens infecting host populations, with no previous exposure thereto, is characteristic of many diseases labelled " emerging" or " resurging" One cause of emergence characteristics can be interpreted as absence of co-evolutionary optimization of interactions between hosts and pathogens. We explore the historical and evolutionary development between Ross River virus (RRV) and its human host in Australia; a mosquito vectored pathogen causing polyarthritic symptoms. Epidemics of RRV have increased in frequency, size and range throughout European settlement. We hypothesise that human cultural evolution contributed to the emergence of RRV in humans, and argue that epidemics of RRV were unlikely to occur in Aboriginal hunter-gatherer societies in Australia's early human history, but only occur in more recent agrarian and industrial societies. A perspective of cultural evolution, in addition to biological evolution, may help with understanding the determinants of disease emergence and resurgence, and inform ongoing development of effective public health interventions.
Formatted abstract
Enhanced virulence of pathogens infecting host populations, with no previous exposure thereto, is characteristic of many diseases labelled “emerging” or “resurging”. One cause of emergence characteristics can be interpreted as absence of co-evolutionary optimization of interactions between hosts and pathogens. We explore the historical and evolutionary development between Ross River virus (RRV) and its human host in Australia; a mosquito vectored pathogen causing polyarthritic symptoms. Epidemics of RRV have increased in frequency, size and range throughout European settlement. We hypothesise that human cultural evolution contributed to the emergence of RRV in humans, and argue that epidemics of RRV were unlikely to occur in Aboriginal hunter–gatherer societies in Australia’s early human history, but only occur in more recent agrarian and industrial societies. A perspective of cultural evolution, in addition to biological evolution, may help with understanding the determinants of disease emergence and resurgence, and inform ongoing development of effective public health interventions.
Keyword Southwestern Australia
Genetic identification
Plasmodium-chabaudi
Climate variability
Dryland salinity
Transmission
Ecology
Emergence
Virulence
Outbreak
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Fri, 23 Sep 2011, 20:38:59 EST by Geraldine Fitzgerald on behalf of School of Public Health