Improving methods for reporting spatial epidemiologic data

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Plague and tularemia are serious zoonotic diseases endemic to North America. We evaluated spatial patterns in their transmission in view of changing climates. First, we tested whether observed shifts since the 1960s are consistent with expected patterns of shift given known climate changes over that period. Then, we used general circulation model results summarizing global patterns of changing climates into the future to forecast likely shifts in patterns of transmission over the next 50 years. The results indicate that these diseases are indeed shifting in accord with patterns of climatic shift, but that overall geographic shifts will likely be subtle, with some northward movement of southern limits and possibly northward movement of northern limits as well.

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  • A. Townsend Peterson

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