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PLOS Science Wednesday: We’re Drs. Albert Ko and Federico Costa; our PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases paper examines the burden of leptospirosis, a disease that impacts urban slum dwellers and rural su
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Hi Reddit, My name is Albert Ko and I am a Professor at Yale School of Public Health. My research focuses on identifying solutions for health problems that have emerged as a consequence of rapid urbanization, social inequity and the growth of slum settlements. I am joined by my colleague, Federico Costa, who is an Associate Professor at the Universidade Federal da Bahia in Brazil. His research centers on how the ecology of the slum communities influences the disease emergence and transmission in such environments. Federico and I recently published a study, titled “Global Mortality and Morbidity of Leptospirosis: A Systematic Review”, in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. This study estimated the health burden caused by leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that is transmitted by rats, livestock and other animals in environments that lack basic sanitation. We found that leptospirosis accounts for one million cases and 60,000 deaths each year, most of which occur in regions where its impact on subsistence farmers, pastoralists and slum dwellers has been “neglected”. Furthermore, the burden of leptospirosis is projected to rise as the global expansion of shantytowns and climate change-associated extreme weather events create the environmental conditions for intensified transmission. We invite you to ask questions about leptospirosis, and how changes in the world’s demographics and environment are creating new health challenges and neglected diseases which impart their greatest impact on vulnerable populations. We’ll be taking your questions at 1pm ET (10 am PT, 6 pm UTC) – Ask Us Anything! NOTE from PLOS: Albert and Federico are presenting at a conference in Brazil today, and will answer questions as they are able, sometimes before or after the 1-2pm ET live chat hour.