Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The frequency and global impact of infectious disease outbreaks, particularly those caused by emerging viruses, demonstrate the need for a better understanding of how spatial ecology and pathogen evolution jointly shape epidemic dynamics. Advances in computational techniques and the increasing availability of genetic and geospatial data are helping to address this problem, particularly when both information sources are combined. Here, we review research at the intersection of evolutionary biology, human geography and epidemiology that is working towards an integrated view of spatial incidence, host mobility and viral genetic diversity. We first discuss how empirical studies have combined viral spatial and genetic data, focusing particularly on the contribution of evolutionary analyses to epidemiology and disease control. Second, we explore the interplay between virus evolution and global dispersal in more depth for two pathogens: human influenza A virus and chikungunya virus. We discuss the opportunities for future research arising from new analyses of human transportation and trade networks, as well as the associated challenges in accessing and sharing relevant spatial and genetic data.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Biol Sci

Publication Date





epidemiology, evolution, geography, phylogenetics, transmission, virus, Chikungunya Fever, Chikungunya virus, Communicable Diseases, Emerging, Disease Outbreaks, Disease Transmission, Infectious, Evolution, Molecular, Genetic Variation, Humans, Influenza A virus, Influenza, Human, Phylogeography, Travel, Virus Diseases, Viruses