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BackgroundDuring the last century, WHO led public health interventions that resulted in spectacular achievements such as the worldwide eradication of smallpox and the elimination of malaria from the Western world. However, besides major successes achieved worldwide in infectious diseases control, most elimination/control programs remain frustrating in many tropical countries where specific biological and socio-economical features prevented implementation of disease control over broad spatial and temporal scales. Emblematic examples include malaria, yellow fever, measles and HIV. There is consequently an urgent need to develop affordable and sustainable disease control strategies that can target the core of infectious diseases transmission in highly endemic areas.DiscussionMeanwhile, although most pathogens appear so difficult to eradicate, it is surprising to realize that human activities are major drivers of the current high rate of extinction among upper organisms through alteration of their ecology and evolution, i.e., their "niche". During the last decades, the accumulation of ecological and evolutionary studies focused on infectious diseases has shown that the niche of a pathogen holds more dimensions than just the immune system targeted by vaccination and treatment. Indeed, it is situated at various intra- and inter- host levels involved on very different spatial and temporal scales. After developing a precise definition of the niche of a pathogen, we detail how major advances in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology of infectious diseases can enlighten the planning and implementation of infectious diseases control in tropical countries with challenging economic constraints.SummaryWe develop how the approach could translate into applied cases, explore its expected benefits and constraints, and we conclude on the necessity of such approach for pathogen control in low-income countries.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/1471-2458-14-753

Type

Journal

BMC public health

Publication Date

25/07/2014

Volume

14

Addresses

UMMISCO (UMI 209 IRD-UPMC), Centre IRD-France Nord, 32, avenue Henry Varagnat, 93143 Bondy, Cedex, France. benjamin.roche@ird.fr.

Keywords

Humans, Yellow Fever, Measles, HIV Infections, Malaria, Vaccination, Public Health, Communicable Disease Control, Developing Countries, Poverty