211396 Health Early Warning Systems for Oceans, Coasts and Great Lakes

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:30 PM

Juli Trtanj, MES , Oceans and Human Health Initiative, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, MD
Are the beaches safe for swimming? Is the seafood safe to eat? Why are the dolphins dying? Our oceans are under increasing pressures from coastal development and climate change-with an alarming increase in marine zoonotic diseases, biotoxin related illnesses, and ocean related human illness and death. Harmful algal blooms, zoonoses, and Vibrio bacteria occur naturally in the marine environment but their frequency is increasing and they are evolving in unanticipated ways. Over 60% of emerging infectious disease events in humans is caused by zoonotic pathogens and 71% of those are from wildlife. Marine mammals can be hosts or vectors for emerging zoonotic diseases. Harmful algal blooms have caused an estimated $1 billion in economic loss in the last decade. In 2006, U.S. beaches closed for a record 34,358 days due to the presence of bacteria, viruses or other microbes. Vibrio strains are the most common cause of seafood-borne disease and death, but are underreported and misdiagnosed; changing ocean temperatures appear to be increasing their range and potential for infection. This talk will offer a framework for developing Health Early Warning Systems (HEWS) which integrates public health, marine animal health, ocean and coastal monitoring and observations, and other key elements to predict health risks. The HEWS goal is to provide enough lead time to respond to immediate threats, and to inform adaptation options at longer time scales, such as social, political, and institutional changes.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how to engage the public health community in the development and implementation of health early warning systems to ensure the delivery of useful information.

Keywords: Emerging Diseases, Climate Change

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I run a Federal research program and have organized over 30 sessions at numerous scientific meetings, and am responsible for the development of ocean and coastal systems to detect and predict emerging human health risks.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.