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Mathematics of climate change and mosquito-borne disease dynamics

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The role of climate change, as measured in terms of changes in the climatology of geophysical variables (such as temperature and rainfall), on the global distribution and burden of vector-borne

The role of climate change, as measured in terms of changes in the climatology of geophysical variables (such as temperature and rainfall), on the global distribution and burden of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) remains a subject of considerable debate. This dissertation attempts to contribute to this debate via the use of mathematical (compartmental) modeling and statistical data analysis. In particular, the objective is to find suitable values and/or ranges of the climate variables considered (typically temperature and rainfall) for maximum vector abundance and consequently, maximum transmission intensity of the disease(s) they cause.

Motivated by the fact that understanding the dynamics of disease vector is crucial to understanding the transmission and control of the VBDs they cause, a novel weather-driven deterministic model for the population biology of the mosquito is formulated and rigorously analyzed. Numerical simulations, using relevant weather and entomological data for Anopheles mosquito (the vector for malaria), show that maximum mosquito abundance occurs when temperature and rainfall values lie in the range [20-25]C and [105-115] mm, respectively.

The Anopheles mosquito ecology model is extended to incorporate human dynamics. The resulting weather-driven malaria transmission model, which includes many of the key aspects of malaria (such as disease transmission by asymptomatically-infectious humans, and enhanced malaria immunity due to repeated exposure), was rigorously analyzed. The model which also incorporates the effect of diurnal temperature range (DTR) on malaria transmission dynamics shows that increasing DTR shifts the peak temperature value for malaria transmission from 29C (when DTR is 0C) to about 25C (when DTR is 15C).

Finally, the malaria model is adapted and used to study the transmission dynamics of chikungunya, dengue and Zika, three diseases co-circulating in the Americas caused by the same vector (Aedes aegypti). The resulting model, which is fitted using data from Mexico, is used to assess a few hypotheses (such as those associated with the possible impact the newly-released dengue vaccine will have on Zika) and the impact of variability in climate variables on the dynamics of the three diseases. Suitable temperature and rainfall ranges for the maximum transmission intensity of the three diseases are obtained.

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  • 2018