Arbovirus emergence and spread on a national and international scale: insights 9 from data-driven modelling for detection and control

Project: PhD

Project Details


Arboviruses are a group of viruses transmitted by arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks and which replicate in the arthropod vector. Several arboviruses have emerged or greatly expanded their range over the past few decades, such as blue tongue, Zika virus, dengue virus and West Nile virus. Two important invasive competent mosquito species, Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti are increasingly present in (Southern) Europe, putting multiple regions at risk of emerging arbovirus infections. The risk of arbovirus infections is driven by many factors: virus characteristics, individual vector and host characteristics such as immune response, but also vector and host population dynamics, a population’s spatial distribution, and contact patterns with other host or vector species. Examples of drivers that impact on populations include ecological changes, urbanisation, and international travel. As these drivers have a combined effect on transmission risk and do not combine linearly, understanding the effects on transmission is challenging. Given this complexity, computational tools can be powerful in bringing together many different sources of information and attempt to discern trends and the causes thereof in the dynamics of diseases. The overall objective of this study is to understand the risk of emergence and spread of arboviral disease outbreaks, with a main focus on the Dutch setting. In this PhD project we will 1) reconstruct Usutu virus emergence and transmission dynamics in the Netherlands over the past few years, 2) develop a transmission model to simulate potential emergence and spread of new arboviruses in the Netherlands, 3) use the simulation model from 2) to compare sampling strategies for surveillance and identify the most effective intervention strategies, 4) quantify the risk of Rift Valley fever transmission in urban regions across the world.
Effective start/end date1/05/20 → …


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