Environment and Infectious Diseases

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Francisco Antunes
Head
fantunes@medicina.ulisboa.pt

The main goal of this research group is to address the existing gaps in complex problems involving the influence of the environment in infectious diseases. This can be done by pooling interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary resources, involving national and international institutions (academic and medical centres), European networks and institutions, and Portuguese speaking countries in Africa.

The research focuses on vector borne diseases in its broadest sense, under an integrated approach that includes the entire chain of infection (agent, transmission, vectors, hosts, reservoirs, infection, immunology, diagnosis, treatment and environment), departing from the recognition of the global growing burden of vector borne diseases on Public Health systems.

The climate variation (more specifically the variation of air temperature and humidity), associated with agent-host infectious disease dynamic, and the impact of extreme weather events (heat waves, cold spells and floods), are also addressed, mainly in the development of methods and models to understand and describe the effect of climate on the disease risk.

Portugal has one of the highest prevalence of HIV infection in Europe. This, together with the long-privileged research cooperation with Portuguese speaking countries (Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, some with the highest level of HIV infection), justifies the investment of research on the infection itself. This includes HIV-2, antiretroviral treatment and associated infections, including tuberculosis (as the most common HIV associated opportunistic infection) and cryptococcal meningitis (a major cause of death among HIV infected patients).

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Infectious diseases remain the leading cause of death around the world. Social, environmental and economic factors are the most likely causes for the emergence of infectious diseases.

Francisco Antunes

Team members

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Selected publications

Madeira S, Duarte A, Boinas F, Osório HC (2021). A DNA barcode reference library of Portuguese mosquitoes. Zoonoses and Public HealthFirst published: 16 August 2021.

Nicolau V, Cortes R, Lopes M, Virgolino A, Santos O, Martins A, Faria N, Reis AP, Santos C, Maltez F, Pereira AA, Antunes F (2021). HIV Infection: Time from Diagnosis to Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy in Portugal, a Multicentric StudyHealthcare 9, 797.

Simões D, Caetano LA, Veríssimo C, Viegas C, Sabino R (2021). Aspergillus collected in specific indoor settings: their molecular identification and susceptibility patternInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research 31(3): 248-257.