Q&A with Dr. Brian Allan

Introduction – who is it and why are we talking about them?

  1. To start off, could you tell me a little bit about how you got started studying infectious diseases?
    1. I know your specialty is focused on arthropods as vectors of infectious disease, can you tell me how this differs from other infectious diseases -airborne for example?
  2. What are the main diseases you focus on?
    1. What draws you to these infectious diseases?
  3. You teach a class called Ecology and Human Health as well as the Biology of Disease Vectors
    1. Synopsis of each class
    2. What is the main idea you want students to take away from each of these classes?
  4. With respect to ecology and human health what are the main diseases you focus on?
    1. Talk about Ebola human trials if brought up
  5. Because the class relies heavily on how the ecology of these infectious diseases impacts human health, how much of the class is related on prevention via vaccination?
  6. Is there one example you can share? – show the full circle big picture of vaccinations
    1. Connect vaccinations with humans and environment
  7. I read a relatively recent publication of yours that focused on the knowledge and prevention of tick borne diseases – to what degree do you think public knowledge is necessary when it comes to vaccines
    1. Important to know ecology?
    2. Important to know timing?
    3. Should people blindly get vaccines without research?
  8. As an expert in the field of infectious disease, what do you believe is the value of vaccinations in our world?
  9. Anything I didn’t ask you that I should



We sought to determine the behavioral risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases across a human land-use gradient in a region endemic for diseases transmitted by the lone star tick. We measured the knowledge, attitudes, and preventive behaviors of visitors to 14 suburban, exurban, and rural recreational parks. A structured interview was conducted to determine respondents’ (n=238) knowledge of tick-borne disease risk, perceived susceptibility to tick-borne disease, and tick bite prevention behaviors. We found significant differences across park types for most personal protective behaviors. Individuals in exurban parks were more likely to perform frequent tick checks and use chemical insect repellents compared to other park types (p<0.001), while suburban park visitors were more likely to avoid tick habitats (p<0.05). Disparities exist in the level of knowledge, perceived personal risk, and use of preventive measures across the human land-use gradient, suggesting that targeted public health intervention programs could reduce behavioral exposure risk by addressing specific gaps in knowledge and prevention.


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