The theme of the PASC24 Public Lecture cuts across geographic frontiers by discussing a public health concern all across the globe: the effective management of tick-borne illnesses in an era of rising temperatures. The Organizing Team is pleased to announce that applied mathematician Folashade Agusto from the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Kansas will give a public keynote offering insights into practical ways of managing tick populations.
Recently tick ranges have been expanding due in part to rising temperatures as a consequence of climate change. Larger tick ranges increase the risk of tick-borne illnesses, necessitating practical ways of managing tick populations. Prescribed fires is a commonly used land management practice that is time and cost efficient. This lecture will discuss the effects of prescribed fire intensity (low and high) and the duration between burns on the prevalence of tick-borne illnesses as temperature rises, and explore the effect of prescribed burns on the establishment of ticks into new areas. The results indicate that prescribed fire intensity has a larger impact on reducing disease prevalence than the frequency between burns. Infrequent burns, however, are ineffective at preventing tick establishment since populations can recover quickly following a burn, while frequent long-term prescribed burns can slow and possibly prevent tick establishment into new areas.
About the presenter
Folashade Agusto is an applied mathematician in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Kansas. She designs novel models to gain insights and mitigate the risks posed to public health by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
Since 2017 she has engaged in a “mobile training clinic” in West Africa, visiting Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal. The clinic involves training workshops for graduate students in ecology, epidemiology, and dynamical system analysis using seed funds from CIMPA through the African Mathematical Union. The mobile training clinic will be on the move to another African country in the summer of 2024 or 2025.