Complete treatment of uncertainties in a model for dengue R0 estimation.
ABSTRACT In real epidemic processes, the basic reproduction number R0 is the combined outcome of multiple probabilistic events. Nevertheless, it is frequently modeled as a deterministic function of epidemiological variables. This paper discusses the importance of adequate treatment of uncertainties in such models. This is done by comparing two methods of uncertainty analysis: Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis (MCUA) and the Bayesian melding (BM) method. These methods are applied to a model for the determination of R0 of dengue fever based on entomological parameters. The BM was shown to provide a complete treatment of the uncertainties associated with model parameters. In contrast to MCUA, the incorporation of uncertainties led to realistic posterior distributions for parameter and variables. The incorporation, by the BM, of all the available information, from observational data to expert opinions, allows for the constructive use of uncertainties generating informative posterior distributions for all of the model's components that are coherent as a set.
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ABSTRACT: Vector-borne diseases represent a major public health concern in most tropical and subtropical areas, and an emerging threat for more developed countries. Our understanding of the ecology, evolution and control of these diseases relies predominantly on theory and data on pathogen transmission in large self-sustaining 'source' populations of vectors representative of highly endemic areas. However, there are numerous places where environmental conditions are less favourable to vector populations, but where immigration allows them to persist. We built an epidemiological model to investigate the dynamics of six major human vector borne-diseases in such non self-sustaining 'sink' vector populations. The model was parameterized through a review of the literature, and we performed extensive sensitivity analysis to look at the emergence and prevalence of the pathogen that could be encountered in these populations. Despite the low vector abundance in typical sink populations, all six human diseases were able to spread in 15-55% of cases after accidental introduction. The rate of spread was much more strongly influenced by vector longevity, immigration and feeding rates, than by transmission and virulence of the pathogen. Prevalence in humans remained lower than 5% for dengue, leishmaniasis and Japanese encephalitis, but substantially higher for diseases with longer duration of infection; malaria and the American and African trypanosomiasis. Vector-related parameters were again the key factors, although their influence was lower than on pathogen emergence. Our results emphasize the need for ecology and evolution to be thought in the context of metapopulations made of a mosaic of sink and source habitats, and to design vector control program not only targeting areas of high vector density, but working at a larger spatial scale.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e36858. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Spatio-temporal tracking and phylodynamics of an urban dengue 3 outbreak in São Paulo, Brazil.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The dengue virus has a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome of approximately 10.700 nucleotides with a single open reading frame that encodes three structural (C, prM, and E) and seven nonstructural (NS1, NS2A, NS2B, NS3, NS4A, NS4B, and NS5) proteins. It possesses four antigenically distinct serotypes (DENV 1-4). Many phylogenetic studies address particularities of the different serotypes using convenience samples that are not conducive to a spatio-temporal analysis in a single urban setting. We describe the pattern of spread of distinct lineages of DENV-3 circulating in São José do Rio Preto, Brazil, during 2006. Blood samples from patients presenting dengue-like symptoms were collected for DENV testing. We performed M-N-PCR using primers based on NS5 for virus detection and identification. The fragments were purified from PCR mixtures and sequenced. The positive dengue cases were geo-coded. To type the sequenced samples, 52 reference sequences were aligned. The dataset generated was used for iterative phylogenetic reconstruction with the maximum likelihood criterion. The best demographic model, the rate of growth, rate of evolutionary change, and Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA) were estimated. The basic reproductive rate during the epidemics was estimated. We obtained sequences from 82 patients among 174 blood samples. We were able to geo-code 46 sequences. The alignment generated a 399-nucleotide-long dataset with 134 taxa. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that all samples were of DENV-3 and related to strains circulating on the isle of Martinique in 2000-2001. Sixty DENV-3 from São José do Rio Preto formed a monophyletic group (lineage 1), closely related to the remaining 22 isolates (lineage 2). We assumed that these lineages appeared before 2006 in different occasions. By transforming the inferred exponential growth rates into the basic reproductive rate, we obtained values for lineage 1 of R(0) = 1.53 and values for lineage 2 of R(0) = 1.13. Under the exponential model, TMRCA of lineage 1 dated 1 year and lineage 2 dated 3.4 years before the last sampling. The possibility of inferring the spatio-temporal dynamics from genetic data has been generally little explored, and it may shed light on DENV circulation. The use of both geographic and temporally structured phylogenetic data provided a detailed view on the spread of at least two dengue viral strains in a populated urban area.PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 02/2009; 3(5):e448. · 4.69 Impact Factor
Article: Geographic and ecologic heterogeneity in elimination thresholds for the major vector-borne helminthic disease, lymphatic filariasis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Large-scale intervention programmes to control or eliminate several infectious diseases are currently underway worldwide. However, a major unresolved question remains: what are reasonable stopping points for these programmes? Recent theoretical work has highlighted how the ecological complexity and heterogeneity inherent in the transmission dynamics of macroparasites can result in elimination thresholds that vary between local communities. Here, we examine the empirical evidence for this hypothesis and its implications for the global elimination of the major macroparasitic disease, lymphatic filariasis, by applying a novel Bayesian computer simulation procedure to fit a dynamic model of the transmission of this parasitic disease to field data from nine villages with different ecological and geographical characteristics. Baseline lymphatic filariasis microfilarial age-prevalence data from three geographically distinct endemic regions, across which the major vector populations implicated in parasite transmission also differed, were used to fit and calibrate the relevant vector-specific filariasis transmission models. Ensembles of parasite elimination thresholds, generated using the Bayesian fitting procedure, were then examined in order to evaluate site-specific heterogeneity in the values of these thresholds and investigate the ecological factors that may underlie such variability We show that parameters of density-dependent functions relating to immunity, parasite establishment, as well as parasite aggregation, varied significantly between the nine different settings, contributing to locally varying filarial elimination thresholds. Parasite elimination thresholds predicted for the settings in which the mosquito vector is anopheline were, however, found to be higher than those in which the mosquito is culicine, substantiating our previous theoretical findings. The results also indicate that the probability that the parasite will be eliminated following six rounds of Mass Drug Administration with diethylcarbamazine and albendazole decreases markedly but non-linearly as the annual biting rate and parasite reproduction number increases. This paper shows that specific ecological conditions in a community can lead to significant local differences in population dynamics and, consequently, elimination threshold estimates for lymphatic filariasis. These findings, and the difficulty of measuring the key local parameters (infection aggregation and acquired immunity) governing differences in transmission thresholds between communities, mean that it is necessary for us to rethink the utility of the current anticipatory approaches for achieving the elimination of filariasis both locally and globally.BMC Biology 03/2010; 8:22. · 5.75 Impact Factor