Albert Icksang Ko, MD

Department Chair and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Medicine (Infectious Diseases); Department Chair - Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

Research Interests

Dengue; Epidemiology; Leptospirosis; Urban Health; Global Health; Meningitis, Bacterial; Infectious Disease Medicine

Public Health Interests

Epidemiology Methods; Infectious Disease Transmission; Social inequalities; Zoonosis

Research Organizations

School of Public Health: Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases: Vector-borne | YSPH Global Health Concentration

Infectious Diseases

CPIRT - Pulmonary Infection Research and Treatment

Faculty Research

Global Health Studies

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

Dr. Ko’s research centers on the health problems that have emerged as a consequence of rapid urbanization and social inequity. He coordinates a research and training program on urban slum health in Brazil and conducts prospective cohort studies on leptospirosis, dengue, meningitis and respiratory infections. His research combines multidisciplinary epidemiology, ecology and translational research-based approaches to identify prevention and control strategies that can be implemented in slum communities. More recently, Dr. Ko and his team has mobilized the public health research capacity at their site in the city of Salvador to investigate the on-going outbreak of Zika virus infection and microcephaly.

Specialized Terms: Urban slum health, Leptospirosis; Dengue; Bacterial meningitis; Vaccine preventable diseases; Zika viral infections

Extensive Research Description

  • Disease determinants for urban leptospirosis
  • Rapid serodiagnostic test for leptospirosis
  • Natural history of urban leptospirosis
  • Transmission of drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in Brazil
  • Genome-level protein microarray serodiagnostic antigen discovery in leptospirosis
  • Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellows Program: Burden of leptospirosis in slum communities

Selected Publications

  • Cathelicidin insufficiency in patients with fatal leptospirosis Lindow JC, Wunder Jr. EA, Popper SJ, Min JN, Mannam P, Srivastava A, Yao Y, Hacker KP, Raddassi K, Lee PJ, Montgomery RR, Shaw AC, Hagan JE, Araújo GC, Nery Jr N, Relman DA, Kim CC, Reis MG, Ko AI. Cathelicidin insufficiency in patients with fatal leptospirosis. PLoS Pathog 2016;12(11): e1005943. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005943.
  • Zika Virus Infection and Stillbirths: A Case of Hydrops Fetalis, Hydranencephaly and Fetal Demise

    Sarno M, Sacramento GA, Khouri R, do Rosário MS, Costa F, Archanjo G, Santos LA, Nery N Jr, Vasilakis N, Ko AI, de Almeida AR. Zika Virus Infection and Stillbirths: A Case of Hydrops Fetalis, Hydranencephaly and Fetal Demise. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016;10(2):e0004517. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004517. PMID: 26914330; PMCID: PMC4767410.

  • Emergence of Congenital Zika Syndrome: Viewpoint From the Front Lines Costa F, Sarno M, Khouri R, de Paulo Freitas B, Siqueira I, Ribeiro GS, Ribeiro HC, Campos GS, Alcântara LC, Reis MG, Weaver SC, Vasilakis N, Ko AI, Almeida AR. Emergence of Congenital Zika Syndrome: Viewpoint From the Front Lines. Ann Intern Med. 2016 Feb 24. doi: 10.7326/M16-0332. PMID: 26914810.
  • Ocular Findings in Infants with Microcephaly Associated with Presumed Zika Virus Congenital Infection in Salvador, Brazil

    Freitas BP, Dias JRO, Prazeres J, Sacramento GA, Ko AI, Maia M, Belfort Jr R. Ocular Findings in Infants with Microcephaly Associated with Presumed Zika Virus Congenital Infection in Salvador, Brazil. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016 Feb 9. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.0267. PMID:26865554

  • Spatiotemporal determinants of urban leptospirosis transmission: Four-year prospective cohort study of slum residents in Brazil

    Hagan JE, Moraga P, Costa F, Capian N, Ribeiro GS, Wunder Jr EA, Felzemburgh RDM, Reis RB, Nery N, Santana FS, Fraga D, dos Santos BL, Santos AC, Queiroz A, Tassinari W, Carvalho MS, Reis MG, Diggle PJ, Ko AI. Spatiotemporal determinants of urban leptospirosis transmission: Four-year prospective cohort study of slum residents in Brazil. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 Jan 15;10(1):e0004275. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004275. PMID:26771379. PMCID: PMC4714915

  • Global Morbidity and Mortality of Leptospirosis: A Systematic Review.

    Costa F, Hagan JE, Calcagno J, Kane M, Torgerson P, Martinez-Silveira MS, Stein C, Abela-Ridder B, Ko AI. Global Morbidity and Mortality of Leptospirosis: A Systematic Review. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015 September; 9(9): e0003898. PMCID: PMC4574773

  • Urban epidemic of severe Leptospirosis in Brazil

    Ko AI, Reis MG, Dourado CR, Johnson Jr WD, Riley LW. Urban epidemic of severe Leptospirosis in Brazil. Salvador Leptospirosis Study Group. Lancet 1999;354:820-825. PMID: 10485724.

Full List of PubMed Publications

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Contact Info

Albert Icksang Ko, MD
Office Location
Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health (LEPH)
60 College Street

New Haven, CT 06510
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Mailing Address
P.O. Box 208034
New Haven, CT 06520-8034

Curriculum Vitae

Risk factors for leptospirosis transmission at Yale-Brazil Community Site

Resident clearing out open sewer.

Research Image 2

Leptospira adhering to mammalian host cells

Flooding as a riak for leptospirosis  at the Yale-Brazil Community Site

Resident showing level of flooding