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Christian Setzkorn - Top 30 Publications

Systematic Assessment of the Climate Sensitivity of Important Human and Domestic Animals Pathogens in Europe.

Climate change is expected to threaten human health and well-being via its effects on climate-sensitive infectious diseases, potentially changing their spatial distributions, affecting annual/seasonal cycles, or altering disease incidence and severity. Climate sensitivity of pathogens is a key indicator that diseases might respond to climate change, but the proportion of pathogens that is climate-sensitive, and their characteristics, are not known. The climate sensitivity of European human and domestic animal infectious pathogens, and the characteristics associated with sensitivity, were assessed systematically in terms of selection of pathogens and choice of literature reviewed. Sixty-three percent (Nā€‰=ā€‰157) of pathogens were climate sensitive; 82% to primary drivers such as rainfall and temperature. Protozoa and helminths, vector-borne, foodborne, soilborne and waterborne transmission routes were associated with larger numbers of climate drivers. Zoonotic pathogens were more climate sensitive than human- or animal-only pathogens. Thirty-seven percent of disability-adjusted-life-years arise from human infectious diseases that are sensitive to primary climate drivers. These results help prioritize surveillance for pathogens that may respond to climate change. Although this study identifies a high degree of climate sensitivity among important pathogens, their response to climate change will be dependent on the nature of their association with climate drivers and impacts of other drivers.

Database of host-pathogen and related species interactions, and their global distribution.

Interactions between species, particularly where one is likely to be a pathogen of the other, as well as the geographical distribution of species, have been systematically extracted from various web-based, free-access sources, and assembled with the accompanying evidence into a single database. The database attempts to answer questions such as what are all the pathogens of a host, and what are all the hosts of a pathogen, what are all the countries where a pathogen was found, and what are all the pathogens found in a country. Two datasets were extracted from the database, focussing on species interactions and species distribution, based on evidence published between 1950-2012. The quality of their evidence was checked and verified against well-known, alternative, datasets of pathogens infecting humans, domestic animals and wild mammals. The presented datasets provide a valuable resource for researchers of infectious diseases of humans and animals, including zoonoses.

A quantitative prioritisation of human and domestic animal pathogens in Europe.

Disease or pathogen risk prioritisations aid understanding of infectious agent impact within surveillance or mitigation and biosecurity work, but take significant development. Previous work has shown the H-(Hirsch-)index as an alternative proxy. We present a weighted risk analysis describing infectious pathogen impact for human health (human pathogens) and well-being (domestic animal pathogens) using an objective, evidence-based, repeatable approach; the H-index. This study established the highest H-index European pathogens. Commonalities amongst pathogens not included in previous surveillance or risk analyses were examined. Differences between host types (humans/animals/zoonotic) in pathogen H-indices were explored as a One Health impact indicator. Finally, the acceptability of the H-index proxy for animal pathogen impact was examined by comparison with other measures. 57 pathogens appeared solely in the top 100 highest H-indices (1) human or (2) animal pathogens list, and 43 occurred in both. Of human pathogens, 66 were zoonotic and 67 were emerging, compared to 67 and 57 for animals. There were statistically significant differences between H-indices for host types (humans, animal, zoonotic), and there was limited evidence that H-indices are a reasonable proxy for animal pathogen impact. This work addresses measures outlined by the European Commission to strengthen climate change resilience and biosecurity for infectious diseases. The results include a quantitative evaluation of infectious pathogen impact, and suggest greater impacts of human-only compared to zoonotic pathogens or scientific under-representation of zoonoses. The outputs separate high and low impact pathogens, and should be combined with other risk assessment methods relying on expert opinion or qualitative data for priority setting, or could be used to prioritise diseases for which formal risk assessments are not possible because of data gaps.

On the use of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms for survival analysis.

This paper proposes and evaluates a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm for survival analysis. One aim of survival analysis is the extraction of models from data that approximate lifetime/failure time distributions. These models can be used to estimate the time that an event takes to happen to an object. To use of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms for survival analysis has several advantages. They can cope with feature interactions, noisy data, and are capable of optimising several objectives. This is important, as model extraction is a multi-objective problem. It has at least two objectives, which are the extraction of accurate and simple models. Accurate models are required to achieve good predictions. Simple models are important to prevent overfitting, improve the transparency of the models, and to save computational resources. Although there is a plethora of evolutionary approaches to extract models for classification and regression, the presented approach is one of the first applied to survival analysis. The approach is evaluated on several artificial datasets and one medical dataset. It is shown that the approach is capable of producing accurate models, even for problems that violate some of the assumptions made by classical approaches.

On the use of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms for the induction of fuzzy classification rule systems.

Extracting comprehensible and general classifiers from data in the form of rule systems is an important task in many problem domains. This study investigates the utility of a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm (MOEA) for this task. Multi-objective evolutionary algorithms are capable of finding several trade-off solutions between different objectives in a single run. In the context of the present study, the objectives to be optimised are the complexity of the rule systems, and their fit to the data. Complex rule systems are required to fit the data well. However, overly complex rule systems often generalise poorly on new data. In addition they tend to be incomprehensible. It is, therefore, important to obtain trade-off solutions that achieve the best possible fit to the data with the lowest possible complexity. The rule systems produced by the proposed multi-objective evolutionary algorithm are compared with those produced by several other existing approaches for a number of benchmark datasets. It is shown that the algorithm produces less complex classifiers that perform well on unseen data.