Population Dynamics & Epidemiological Modelling

We are using mathematical and simulation models to understand the ecology and population dynamics of vectors of disease and the epidemiology of these diseases. These models are initially designed to identify areas where we lack information necessary to understanding the parasite-vector-host interactions. As more information is available and incorporated into the models, we can use models to explore control strategies such as vector control or vaccination campaigns.

St. Louis Encephalitis

We are currently developing a model for SLE in Florida. There are many questions about the epidemiology of this system, such as:

  • What triggers an epidemic year?
  • What is the role of the seasonal pattern of the vector Culex nigripalpus?
  • What factors control this seasonal pattern?
  • Are other vectors involved and how does their seasonal pattern affect the system?

We plan to use the model to investigate these questions, initially considering just the seasonal pattern of Culex nigripalpus and then expanding the model to consider other factors. Laboratory and field experiments will also be used to aid in our understanding of this arbovirus.

African Horse Sickness

AHS is a Culicoides-transmitted arbovirus of equines. While primarily found in southern Africa, it has periodically been introduced to naive equine populations outside this area, triggering large epidemics. We have developed a simulation model for AHS, reflecting the epidemics in Spain in the late 1980s. Using this model, we have identified those factors where lack of knowledge most affects our ability to predict areas at risk and have examined the role of seasonality in the system.

Contact: C. Lord