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S L States, C I Huang, S Davis, D M Tufts, M A Diuk-Wasser
Coexistence of multiple tick-borne pathogens or strains is common in natural hosts and can be facilitated by resource partitioning of the host species, within-host localization, or by different transmission pathways. Most vector-borne pathogens are transmitted horizontally via systemic host infection, but transmission may occur in the absence of systemic infection between two vectors feeding in close proximity, enabling pathogens to minimize competition and escape the host immune response. In a laboratory study, we demonstrated that co-feeding transmission can occur for a rapidly-cleared strain of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease agent, between two stages of the tick vector Ixodes scapularis while feeding on their dominant host, Peromyscus leucopus...
December 26, 2016: Epidemics
Sebastian Funk, Anton Camacho, Adam J Kucharski, Rosalind M Eggo, W John Edmunds
Real-time forecasts of infectious diseases can help public health planning, especially during outbreaks. If forecasts are generated from mechanistic models, they can be further used to target resources or to compare the impact of possible interventions. However, paremeterising such models is often difficult in real time, when information on behavioural changes, interventions and routes of transmission are not readily available. Here, we present a semi-mechanistic model of infectious disease dynamics that was used in real time during the 2013-2016 West African Ebola epidemic, and show fits to a Ebola Forecasting Challenge conducted in late 2015 with simulated data mimicking the true epidemic...
December 16, 2016: Epidemics
Carolyn Orbann, Lisa Sattenspiel, Erin Miller, Jessica Dimka
Computer models have proven to be useful tools in studying epidemic disease in human populations. Such models are being used by a broader base of researchers, and it has become more important to ensure that descriptions of model construction and data analyses are clear and communicate important features of model structure. Papers describing computer models of infectious disease often lack a clear description of how the data are aggregated and whether or not non-epidemic runs are excluded from analyses. Given that there is no concrete quantitative definition of what constitutes an epidemic within the public health literature, each modeler must decide on a strategy for identifying epidemics during simulation runs...
December 12, 2016: Epidemics
Jessica E Stockdale, Theodore Kypraios, Philip D O'Neill
The celebrated Abakaliki smallpox data have appeared numerous times in the epidemic modelling literature, but in almost all cases only a specific subset of the data is considered. The only previous analysis of the full data set relied on approximation methods to derive a likelihood and did not assess model adequacy. The data themselves continue to be of interest due to concerns about the possible re-emergence of smallpox as a bioterrorism weapon. We present the first full Bayesian statistical analysis using data-augmentation Markov chain Monte Carlo methods which avoid the need for likelihood approximations and which yield a wider range of results than previous analyses...
December 9, 2016: Epidemics
Isabella Marinelli, Alies van Lier, Hester de Melker, Andrea Pugliese, Michiel van Boven
Studies into the impact of vaccination against the varicella zoster virus (VZV) have increasingly focused on herpes zoster (HZ), which is believed to be increasing in vaccinated populations with decreasing infection pressure. This idea can be traced back to Hope-Simpson's hypothesis, in which a person's immune status determines the likelihood that he/she will develop HZ. Immunity decreases over time, and can be boosted by contact with a person experiencing varicella (exogenous boosting) or by a reactivation attempt of the virus (endogenous boosting)...
November 22, 2016: Epidemics
Bruce Pell, Yang Kuang, Cecile Viboud, Gerardo Chowell
BACKGROUND: The rising number of novel pathogens threatening the human population has motivated the application of mathematical modeling for forecasting the trajectory and size of epidemics. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We summarize the real-time forecasting results of the logistic equation during the 2015 Ebola challenge focused on predicting synthetic data derived from a detailed individual-based model of Ebola transmission dynamics and control. We also carry out a post-challenge comparison of two simple phenomenological models...
November 19, 2016: Epidemics
Arie H Havelaar, Arno Swart
Case-control studies of outbreaks and of sporadic cases of infectious diseases may provide a biased estimate of the infection rate ratio, due to selecting controls that are not at risk of disease. We use a dynamic mathematical model to explore biases introduced in results drawn from case-control studies of enteric pathogens by waning and boosting of immunity, and by asymptomatic infections, using Campylobacter jejuni as an example. Individuals in the population are either susceptible (at risk of infection and disease), fully protected (not at risk of either) or partially protected (at risk of infection but not of disease)...
December 2016: Epidemics
Sherry Towers, Fred Brauer, Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Andrew K I Falconar, Anuj Mubayi, Claudia M E Romero-Vivas
BACKGROUND: In 2015, the Zika arbovirus (ZIKV) began circulating in the Americas, rapidly expanding its global geographic range in explosive outbreaks. Unusual among mosquito-borne diseases, ZIKV has been shown to also be sexually transmitted, although sustained autochthonous transmission due to sexual transmission alone has not been observed, indicating the reproduction number (R0) for sexual transmission alone is less than 1. Critical to the assessment of outbreak risk, estimation of the potential attack rates, and assessment of control measures, are estimates of the basic reproduction number, R0...
December 2016: Epidemics
Molly K Steele, Justin V Remais, Manoj Gambhir, John W Glasser, Andreas Handel, Umesh D Parashar, Benjamin A Lopman
BACKGROUND: Noroviruses are the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis and foodborne diarrheal disease in the United States. Norovirus vaccine development has progressed in recent years, but critical questions remain regarding which age groups should be vaccinated to maximize population impact. METHODS: We developed a deterministic, age-structured compartmental model of norovirus transmission and immunity in the U.S. POPULATION: The model was fit to age-specific monthly U...
December 2016: Epidemics
Marleen Werkman, Michael J Tildesley, Ellen Brooks-Pollock, Matt J Keeling
Mathematical models are invaluable tools for quantifying potential epidemics and devising optimal control strategies in case of an outbreak. State-of-the-art models increasingly require detailed individual farm-based and sensitive data, which may not be available due to either lack of capacity for data collection or privacy concerns. However, in many situations, aggregated data are available for use. In this study, we systematically investigate the accuracy of predictions made by mathematical models initialised with varying data aggregations, using the UK 2001 Foot-and-Mouth Disease Epidemic as a case study...
December 2016: Epidemics
Sema Nickbakhsh, Matthew D Hall, Ilaria Dorigatti, Samantha J Lycett, Paolo Mulatti, Isabella Monne, Alice Fusaro, Mark E J Woolhouse, Andrew Rambaut, Rowland R Kao
It is well known that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses emerge through mutation of precursor low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses in domestic poultry populations. The potential for immunological cross-protection between these pathogenic variants is recognised but the epidemiological impact during co-circulation is not well understood. Here we use mathematical models to investigate whether altered flock infection parameters consequent to primary LPAI infections can impact on the spread of HPAI at the population level...
December 2016: Epidemics
Joceline Lega, Heidi E Brown
Recent events have thrown the spotlight on infectious disease outbreak response. We developed a data-driven method, EpiGro, which can be applied to cumulative case reports to estimate the order of magnitude of the duration, peak and ultimate size of an ongoing outbreak. It is based on a surprisingly simple mathematical property of many epidemiological data sets, does not require knowledge or estimation of disease transmission parameters, is robust to noise and to small data sets, and runs quickly due to its mathematical simplicity...
December 2016: Epidemics
Henrik Salje, Derek A T Cummings, Justin Lessler
The average spatial distance between transmission-linked cases is a fundamental property of infectious disease dispersal. However, the distance between a case and their infector is rarely measurable. Contact-tracing investigations are resource intensive or even impossible, particularly when only a subset of cases are detected. Here, we developed an approach that uses onset dates, the generation time distribution and location information to estimate the mean transmission distance. We tested our method using outbreak simulations...
December 2016: Epidemics
Xiong Xiao, Albert Jan van Hoek, Michael G Kenward, Alessia Melegaro, Mark Jit
OBJECTIVE: Infectious disease spread depends on contact rates between infectious and susceptible individuals. Transmission models are commonly informed using empirically collected contact data, but the relevance of different contact types to transmission is still not well understood. Some studies select contacts based on a single characteristic such as proximity (physical/non-physical), location, duration or frequency. This study aimed to explore whether clusters of contacts similar to each other across multiple characteristics could better explain disease transmission...
December 2016: Epidemics
Ashleigh R Tuite, David N Fisman
Mathematical modeling is increasingly accepted as a tool that can inform disease control policy in the face of emerging infectious diseases, such as the 2014-2015 West African Ebola epidemic, but little is known about the relative performance of alternate forecasting approaches. The RAPIDD Ebola Forecasting Challenge (REFC) tested the ability of eight mathematical models to generate useful forecasts in the face of simulated Ebola outbreaks. We used a simple, phenomenological single-equation model (the "IDEA" model), which relies only on case counts, in the REFC...
September 28, 2016: Epidemics
José Lourenço, Mario Recker
Dengue is one of the most important and wide-spread viral infections affecting human populations. The last few decades have seen a dramatic increase in the global burden of dengue, with the virus now being endemic or near-endemic in over 100 countries world-wide. A recombinant tetravalent vaccine candidate (CYD-TDV) has recently completed Phase III clinical efficacy trials in South East Asia and Latin America and has been licensed for use in several countries. The trial results showed moderate-to-high efficacies in protection against clinical symptoms and hospitalisation but with so far unknown effects on transmission and infections per se...
September 2016: Epidemics
P F M Teunis, J C H van Eijkeren, W F de Graaf, A Bonačić Marinović, M E E Kretzschmar
A recently published model for the serum antibody response to infection appeared well suited for use in statistical analyses of longitudinal serological data. The published model assumed exponential decay with fixed rates for pathogen and serum antibody kinetics, ignoring any within-host heterogeneity in the seroresponse. A bi-exponential model shows that there is rapid initial decay followed by a prolonged period of persistent low serum antibody concentrations. We propose a small modification of the decay model that greatly increases its flexibility by allowing for non-exponential antibody decay...
September 2016: Epidemics
Damon J A Toth, Windy D Tanner, Karim Khader, Adi V Gundlapalli
We quantify outbreak risk after importations of Middle East respiratory syndrome outside the Arabian Peninsula. Data from 31 importation events show strong statistical support for lower transmissibility after early transmission generations. Our model projects the risk of ≥10, 100, and 500 transmissions as 11%, 2%, and 0.02%, and ≥1, 2, 3, and 4 generations as 23%, 14%, 0.9%, and 0.05%, respectively. Our results suggest tempered risk of large, long-lasting outbreaks with appropriate control measures.
September 2016: Epidemics
T M Kinyanjui, L Pellis, T House
Household structure is a key driver of many infectious diseases, as well as a natural target for interventions such as vaccination programs. Many theoretical and conceptual advances on household-stratified epidemic models are relatively recent, but have successfully managed to increase the applicability of such models to practical problems. To be of maximum realism and hence benefit, they require parameterisation from epidemiological data, and while household-stratified final size data has been the traditional source, increasingly time-series infection data from households are becoming available...
September 2016: Epidemics
Matthew A Rittenhouse, Crawford W Revie, Amy Hurford
Sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) are a significant source of monetary losses on salmon farms. Sea lice exhibit temperature-dependent development rates and salinity-dependent mortality, but to date no deterministic models have incorporated these seasonally varying factors. To understand how environmental variation and life history characteristics affect sea lice abundance, we derive a delay differential equation model and parameterize the model with environmental data from British Columbia and southern Newfoundland...
September 2016: Epidemics
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