We propose to use mathematical modeling to better understand the emergence/re-emergence of dengue fever and similar mosquito-borne diseases and to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention strategies on stopping them. The long term goal of this proposal is to reduce the burden of dengue fever and similar diseases by characterizing transmission to inform models of and response efforts to outbreaks. We intend to deliver a product to these public health officials and policy makers which not only is accurate and predictive, but which utilizes data that is readily available and/or routinely collected (e.g. clinical data, and that from mosquito surveillance programs), as well as a model that is both accessible in use and produces understandable and interpretable outputs. Further, we anticipate our model and outputs to be expandable to other existing vector borne viruses as well as to newly emerging threats not yet identified. Currently existing mathematical models of dengue virus transmission, though add to our understanding of transmission dynamics, are not primarily designed to account for detailed epidemiological prediction and evaluation. Predictive models need to span multiple scales, from house to the community to the international level. Accordingly, we propose the following specific aims: 1) Develop mathematical models of the infection dynamics of DENV in the mosquito and human, 2) Formulate models of the contact dynamics that drive transmission of DENV and 3) Integrate these component models into detailed agent-based simulation models of mosquito-borne transmission. By addressing these aims, we will confront the urgent public health problem of the emergence/re-emergence of dengue and similar viruses, such as chikungunya virus, in the continental US.
As no vaccine or treatment is available for dengue virus, mitigating transmission is the first and only line of defense of public health. Adding precision and thus accuracy to known and accepted measures of transmission and ultimately informing a transmission model will allow for quicker, more directed and actionable responses to prevent and/or respond to an outbreak of a vector-borne virus such as dengue.
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