To stop mosquito-transmitted illnesses, pay attention to how humans behave: study

August 26, 2019

Targeting the mosquito population within a defined area is the primary way scientists and public health officials mitigate the spread of diseases caused by viruses like Zika, dengue fever, and West Nile. But researchers have discovered that evaluating how humans commute to and from an affected area, as well as their living habits, is key to successful mitigation planning, according to a study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and coauthored by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville professor.

"We have advanced our understanding of how much information cities need to make good cost-effective public health decisions," said coauthor Nina Fefferman, a professor in UT's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

For the study, researchers analyzed commuting patterns of people in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Recife, Brazil; and Jakarta, Indonesia. The cities were chosen because all three were recently exposed to Zika or dengue fever infections and have different patterns of human movement. People bitten and infected in one part of a city can spread the disease to a mosquito that bites them in another community.

The research team used the commuter flow and human distribution data to model different scenarios, informing the design of mosquito control strategies.

Based on the model results, researchers considered the optimal scale at which to implement interventions; how they planned their attack on the mosquitos was dependent on the behavior of the humans in those cities.

Different control scenarios were modeled as well. In all models where interventions were implemented, the severity of the outbreak was successfully limited.

Researchers also found that investment in control measures and the efficacy of those measures affect disease risks. The success of control strategies depends on a city's structure and human movement within the city.

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach that is economically and practically efficient, Fefferman warns. "But it means it's really important to know what kinds of information, and how much information, we need to inform public health policy in using our resources most effectively."

The paper is part of an ongoing project by Fefferman's research group to incorporate real-world constraints into epidemiological models to shape public health policy around controlling mosquito-borne infections.
-end-
CONTACT:

Andrea Schneibel (andrea.schneibel@utk.edu, 865-974-3993)
Hannah Browning (hbrowni2@vols.utk.edu)

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.