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Monday, January 09, 2017
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Using mathematical models to address key unknowns about the epidemiology of dengue and Zika

Alex Perkins
Notre Dame University

As two of the world’s most significant arthropod-borne viral diseases, dengue and Zika are the subject of a great deal of study in both research and surveillance contexts. Despite this, there are still numerous uncertainties about key aspects of their epidemiology that have eluded quantitative understanding. First, I will present the results of a modeling analysis that I performed to quantify the extent to which asymptomatic dengue infections contribute to the overall transmission of dengue, as quantified by force of infection. This analysis uses differential equation models of within-host viral dynamics and population-level models of age-specific infection rates to relate existing data to the quantities that we ultimately wish to know about. Second, I will present model-based projections of first-wave epidemic attack rates of Zika virus infection during the virus’ invasion of Latin America and the Caribbean. These projections were made during the early phases of this invasion when data on Zika incidence patterns in time and space were scarce. Whereas traditional approaches would typically rely on incidence data to inform future projections of Zika activity, the new approach that I developed utilizes a combination of environmental variables that are associated with Zika transmission and basic theoretical results from SIR epidemic models to make projections of final epidemic sizes at high spatial resolution at regional scales.

Host: Carrie Manore