Dengue is the most important arthropod-borne viral disease with over 50 million human cases annually. No vaccine or specific medical treatment is available. Limiting exposure to infected mosquitoes is the only public health strategy to reduce dengue. A novel exposure reduction strategy is being tested by the CDC: a trap that attracts gravid females but prevents escape after egg laying. Since only those which imbibe an infectious blood meal are infectious to humans, this trap removes the most dangerous mosquitoes. The goal of this proposal is to develop a model to test how manipulating oviposition sites influences Aedes aegypti flight range and abundance. The proposed work has both an empirical experimentation facet - testing the effect of oviposition site density on vector flight range and a modeling component - develop a mathematical model to examine effect of epidemiologic interventions on dengue vector population dynamics. The data gleaned from the proposed flight range experiments provide insight into how dengue moves through a population and will be used in the modeling component. The experiments will be conducted at Biosphere-2, providing a unique outreach opportunity. Biosphere-2 was constructed as a microcosm for human space colonization but has been converted to ecosystem scale experimentation. Because of its history, it is a tourist destination and guests interact with the scientist they meet. Since human data are rarely collected at the right level (serology and exposure location), the modeling component involves simulating mosquito population dynamics. It is parameterized using Aedes aegypti life tables and optimized with the CDC's gravid trap data. When completed, it can be used to test the impact of source reduction versus gravid removal trapping and identify the number of gravid traps necessary to have a significant effect on dengue vectors. Dengue continues to be a significant disease internationally and increasingly in the United States. The findings from both the experimentation and modeling components connote important advancements in dengue prevention. For me, this mentored career development award provides additional training in modeling epidemiological data and experience in public health promotion strategies. Dengue, like many of the vector-borne diseases is a complex system. Progress toward its reduction requires the interdisciplinary approach and variety of expertise as described in this proposal.
Two and a half billion people around the world are at risk from the mosquito-borne viral disease, dengue. Reducing risk by eliminating the mosquitoes that carry the virus is the only way to prevent disease. I propose to model a novel intervention strategy being tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Puerto Rico. By modeling this public health intervention its effectiveness can be model compared to other strategies, in other locations, and under alternative climate scenarios.