How a disease is transmitted affects our ability to determine R₀, the average number of new cases caused by an infectious host at the onset of an epidemic. R₀ becomes progressively more difficult to compute as transmission varies from directly transmitted diseases to diseases that are vector-borne to environmentally transmitted diseases. Pathogens responsible for diseases with environmental transmission are typically maintained in environmental reservoirs that exhibit a complex spatial distribution of local infectious zones (LIZs). Understanding host encounters with LIZs and pathogen persistence within LIZs is required for an accurate R₀ and modeling these contacts requires an integrated geospatial and dynamical systems approach. Here we review how interactions between host and pathogen populations and environmental reservoirs are driven by landscape-level variables, and synthesize the quantitative framework needed to formulate outbreak response and disease control.
Blackburn JK, Ganz HH, Ponciano JM, Turner WC, Ryan SJ, Kamath P, Cizauskas C, Kausrud K, Holt RD, Stenseth NC, Getz WM. (2019). ₀ for Pathogens with Environmental Transmission: Animal Movements, Pathogen Populations, and Local Infectious Zones. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(6)