Biogeography of Disease

The geography of human disease and what it tells us about healthcare spending
Eradicating smallpox was one of the greatest human accomplishments of the 20th century; however, eradicating a disease is difficult and for many hundreds of other diseases, focused efforts on reducing prevalence might be a more effective strategy.

The number of pathogens (disease causing organisms) in a region is largely explained by the number of birds and mammals that are found there. It can be difficult and costly to completely eradicate a disease, but, importantly for human health, prevalence of key human pathogens (number of cases) is strongly influenced by disease control efforts. As a consequence, even where disease richness is high, we might still control prevalence, particularly if we spend money in those regions where current spending are low, prevalence is high, and populations are large.