1. Seasonal variations in temperature, rainfall, and resource availability can impact the spread and persistence of infectious diseases.
2. Seasonality can affect host-pathogen interactions through changes in host behavior and contact rates, encounters with infective stages in the environment, annual pulses of host births and deaths, and changes in host immune defenses.
3. Understanding the timing and causes of seasonality is important for predicting disease risks under anthropogenic climate change and developing effective parasite control measures.
The article "Seasonality and the dynamics of infectious diseases" by Sonia Altizer et al. provides a comprehensive review of the impact of seasonality on population fluctuations in infectious diseases. The authors highlight the challenges inherent in understanding the mechanisms and impacts of seasonal environmental drivers, drawing on examples from human and wildlife disease systems.
The article presents empirical evidence pointing to several biologically distinct mechanisms by which seasonality can impact host-pathogen interactions, including changes in host social behavior and contact rates, variation in encounters with infective stages in the environment, annual pulses of host births and deaths, and changes in host immune defenses. Mathematical models and field observations show that the strength and mechanisms of seasonality can alter the spread and persistence of infectious diseases, with population-level responses ranging from simple annual cycles to more complex multiyear fluctuations.
From an applied perspective, understanding the timing and causes of seasonality offers important insights into how parasite-host systems operate, how parasite control measures should be applied, and how disease risks will respond to anthropogenic climate change and altered patterns of seasonality. The authors hope to highlight general insights that are relevant to other ecological interactions by focusing on well-studied examples of infectious diseases.
Overall, this article provides a thorough review of the impact of seasonality on infectious diseases. However, it is important to note that there may be biases present in the selection of examples used or in the interpretation of data presented. Additionally, while the article highlights potential implications for disease control measures and climate change adaptation strategies, it does not delve deeply into potential ethical considerations or unintended consequences associated with these interventions.