Assessing the suitability for Aedes albopictus and dengue transmission risk in China with a delay differential equation model


Metelmann, Soeren Liu, Xiaobo Lu, Liang Caminade, Cyril Liu, Keke Cao, Lina Medlock, Jolyon M. Baylis, Matthew Morse, Andrew P. Liu, Qiyong


Dengue is considered non-endemic to mainland China. However, travellers frequently import the virus from overseas and local mosquito species can then spread the disease in the population. As a consequence, mainland China still experiences large dengue outbreaks. Temperature plays a key role in these outbreaks: it affects the development and survival of the vector and the replication rate of the virus. To better understand its implication in the transmission risk of dengue, we developed a delay differential equation model that explicitly simulates temperature-dependent development periods and tested it with collected field data for the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. The model predicts mosquito occurrence locations with a high accuracy (Cohen's κ of 0.78) and realistically replicates mosquito population dynamics. Analysing the infection dynamics during the 2014 dengue outbreak that occurred in Guangzhou showed that the outbreak could have lasted for another four weeks if mosquito control interventions had not been undertaken. Finally, we analyse the dengue transmission risk in mainland China. We find that southern China, including Guangzhou, can have more than seven months of dengue transmission per year while even Beijing, in the temperate north, can have dengue transmission during hot summer months. The results demonstrate the importance of using detailed vector and infection ecology, especially when vector-borne disease transmission risk is modelled over a broad range of climatic zones.


PLoS neglected tropical diseases



Research Themes:

3. Pathogen and Vector Biology