Impact of birth seasonality on dynamics of acute immunizing infections in Sub-Saharan Africa.
ABSTRACT: We analyze the impact of birth seasonality (seasonal oscillations in the birth rate) on the dynamics of acute, immunizing childhood infectious diseases. Previous research has explored the effect of human birth seasonality on infectious disease dynamics using parameters appropriate for the developed world. We build on this work by including in our analysis an extended range of baseline birth rates and amplitudes, which correspond to developing world settings. Additionally, our analysis accounts for seasonal forcing both in births and contact rates. We focus in particular on the dynamics of measles. In the absence of seasonal transmission rates or stochastic forcing, for typical measles epidemiological parameters, birth seasonality induces either annual or biennial epidemics. Changes in the magnitude of the birth fluctuations (birth amplitude) can induce significant changes in the size of the epidemic peaks, but have little impact on timing of disease epidemics within the year. In contrast, changes to the birth seasonality phase (location of the peak in birth amplitude within the year) significantly influence the timing of the epidemics. In the presence of seasonality in contact rates, at relatively low birth rates (20 per 1000), birth amplitude has little impact on the dynamics but does have an impact on the magnitude and timing of the epidemics. However, as the mean birth rate increases, both birth amplitude and phase play an important role in driving the dynamics of the epidemic. There are stronger effects at higher birth rates.
Project description:There is limited information on influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) seasonal patterns in tropical areas, although there is renewed interest in understanding the seasonal drivers of respiratory viruses.We review geographic variations in seasonality of laboratory-confirmed influenza and RSV epidemics in 137 global locations based on literature review and electronic sources. We assessed peak timing and epidemic duration and explored their association with geography and study settings. We fitted time series model to weekly national data available from the WHO influenza surveillance system (FluNet) to further characterize seasonal parameters.Influenza and RSV activity consistently peaked during winter months in temperate locales, while there was greater diversity in the tropics. Several temperate locations experienced semi-annual influenza activity with peaks occurring in winter and summer. Semi-annual activity was relatively common in tropical areas of Southeast Asia for both viruses. Biennial cycles of RSV activity were identified in Northern Europe. Both viruses exhibited weak latitudinal gradients in the timing of epidemics by hemisphere, with peak timing occurring later in the calendar year with increasing latitude (P<0.03). Time series model applied to influenza data from 85 countries confirmed the presence of latitudinal gradients in timing, duration, seasonal amplitude, and between-year variability of epidemics. Overall, 80% of tropical locations experienced distinct RSV seasons lasting 6 months or less, while the percentage was 50% for influenza.Our review combining literature and electronic data sources suggests that a large fraction of tropical locations experience focused seasons of respiratory virus activity in individual years. Information on seasonal patterns remains limited in large undersampled regions, included Africa and Central America. Future studies should attempt to link the observed latitudinal gradients in seasonality of viral epidemics with climatic and population factors, and explore regional differences in disease transmission dynamics and attack rates.
Project description:The interaction between nonlinearity and seasonal forcing in childhood infectious diseases often leads to multiyear cycles with large amplitude. Regular biennial cycles in particular were observed in measles reports throughout the world. The objective of this paper is to understand the mechanism of such biennial cycles, especially the conditions under which the large amplitude biennial oscillation might appear. It is proposed that such biennial cycles are caused by parametric resonance, which might occur when varying the parameter at a frequency close to twice the natural frequency of the system. The analysis is carried out by solving an SIR model semi-analytically using method of multiple scales (MMS). This analysis shows how parametric resonance occurs due to the interaction between nonlinearity and periodic forcing. Using the MMS solution, the boundary between the resonance region and the non-resonance region in the parameter space is obtained. The effects of different parameters on the triggering of parametric resonance are studied, such as transmission rate, recovery rate, birth rate and amplitude of seasonality. The effects of stochasticity on the onset of parametric resonance are also studied.
Project description:Epidemics of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are known to occur in wintertime in temperate countries including the United States, but there is a limited understanding of the importance of climatic drivers in determining the seasonality of RSV. In the United States, RSV activity is highly spatially structured, with seasonal peaks beginning in Florida in November through December and ending in the upper Midwest in February-March, and prolonged disease activity in the southeastern US. Using data on both age-specific hospitalizations and laboratory reports of RSV in the US, and employing a combination of statistical and mechanistic epidemic modeling, we examined the association between environmental variables and state-specific measures of RSV seasonality. Temperature, vapor pressure, precipitation, and potential evapotranspiration (PET) were significantly associated with the timing of RSV activity across states in univariate exploratory analyses. The amplitude and timing of seasonality in the transmission rate was significantly correlated with seasonal fluctuations in PET, and negatively correlated with mean vapor pressure, minimum temperature, and precipitation. States with low mean vapor pressure and the largest seasonal variation in PET tended to experience biennial patterns of RSV activity, with alternating years of "early-big" and "late-small" epidemics. Our model for the transmission dynamics of RSV was able to replicate these biennial transitions at higher amplitudes of seasonality in the transmission rate. This successfully connects environmental drivers to the epidemic dynamics of RSV; however, it does not fully explain why RSV activity begins in Florida, one of the warmest states, when RSV is a winter-seasonal pathogen. Understanding and predicting the seasonality of RSV is essential in determining the optimal timing of immunoprophylaxis.
Project description:Seasonal variation in environmental variables, and in rates of contact among individuals, are fundamental drivers of infectious disease dynamics. Unlike most periodically forced physical systems, for which the precise pattern of forcing is typically known, underlying patterns of seasonal variation in transmission rates can be estimated approximately at best, and only the period of forcing is accurately known. Yet solutions of epidemic models depend strongly on the forcing function, so dynamical predictions-such as changes in epidemic patterns that can be induced by demographic transitions or mass vaccination-are always subject to the objection that the underlying patterns of seasonality are poorly specified. Here, we demonstrate that the key bifurcations of the standard epidemic model are invariant to the shape of seasonal forcing if the amplitude of forcing is appropriately adjusted. Consequently, analyses applicable to real disease dynamics can be conducted with a smooth, idealized sinusoidal forcing function, and qualitative changes in epidemic patterns can be predicted without precise knowledge of the underlying forcing pattern. We find similar invariance in a seasonally forced predator-prey model, and conjecture that this phenomenon-and the associated robustness of predictions-might be a feature of many other periodically forced dynamical systems.
Project description:Measles is a highly infectious, severe viral disease. The disease is targeted for global eradication; however, this result has proven challenging. In China, where countrywide vaccination coverage for the last decade has been above 95% (the threshold for measles elimination), measles continues to cause large epidemics. To diagnose factors contributing to the persistency of measles, here we develop a model-inference system to infer measles transmission dynamics in China. The model-inference system uses demographic and vaccination data for each year as model inputs to directly account for changing population dynamics (including births, deaths, migrations, and vaccination). In addition, it simultaneously estimates unobserved model variables and parameters based on incidence data. When fitted to yearly incidence data for the entire population, it is able to accurately estimate independent, out-of-sample age-specific incidence. Using this validated model-inference system, we are thus able to estimate epidemiological and demographical characteristics key to measles transmission during 1951-2004 for three key locations in China, including its capital Beijing. These characteristics include age-specific population susceptibility and incidence rates, the basic reproductive number (R0), reporting rate, population mixing intensity, and amplitude of seasonality. Key differences among the three sites reveal population and epidemiological characteristics crucial for understanding the current persistence of measles epidemics in China. We also discuss the implications our findings have for future elimination strategies.
Project description:Seasonal patterns in pathogen transmission can influence the impact of disease on populations and the speed of spatial spread. Increases in host contact rates or births drive seasonal epidemics in some systems, but other factors may occasionally override these influences. White-nose syndrome, caused by the emerging fungal pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is spreading across North America and threatens several bat species with extinction. We examined patterns and drivers of seasonal transmission of P. destructans by measuring infection prevalence and pathogen loads in six bat species at 30 sites across the eastern United States. Bats became transiently infected in autumn, and transmission spiked in early winter when bats began hibernating. Nearly all bats in six species became infected by late winter when infection intensity peaked. In summer, despite high contact rates and a birth pulse, most bats cleared infections and prevalence dropped to zero. These data suggest the dominant driver of seasonal transmission dynamics was a change in host physiology, specifically hibernation. Our study is the first, to the best of our knowledge, to describe the seasonality of transmission in this emerging wildlife disease. The timing of infection and fungal growth resulted in maximal population impacts, but only moderate rates of spatial spread.
Project description:Epidemics of infectious diseases often occur in predictable limit cycles. Theory suggests these cycles can be disrupted by high amplitude seasonal fluctuations in transmission rates, resulting in deterministic chaos. However, persistent deterministic chaos has never been observed, in part because sufficiently large oscillations in transmission rates are uncommon. Where they do occur, the resulting deep epidemic troughs break the chain of transmission, leading to epidemic extinction, even in large cities. Here we demonstrate a new path to locally persistent chaotic epidemics via subtle shifts in seasonal patterns of transmission, rather than through high-amplitude fluctuations in transmission rates. We base our analysis on a comparison of measles incidence in 80 major cities in the prevaccination era United States and United Kingdom. Unlike the regular limit cycles seen in the UK, measles cycles in US cities consistently exhibit spontaneous shifts in epidemic periodicity resulting in chaotic patterns. We show that these patterns were driven by small systematic differences between countries in the duration of the summer period of low transmission. This example demonstrates empirically that small perturbations in disease transmission patterns can fundamentally alter the regularity and spatiotemporal coherence of epidemics.
Project description:Though largely controlled in developed countries, measles remains a major global public health issue. Regional and local transmission patterns are rooted in human mixing behaviour across spatial scales. Identifying spatial interactions that contribute to recurring epidemics helps define and predict outbreak patterns. Using spatially explicit reported cases from measles outbreaks in Niger, we explored how regional variations in movement and contact patterns relate to patterns of measles incidence. Because we expected to see lower rates of re-introductions in small, compared to large, populations, we measured the population-size corrected proportion of weeks with zero cases across districts to understand relative rates of measles re-introductions. We found that critical elements of spatial disease dynamics in Niger are agricultural seasonality, transnational contact clusters, and roads networks that facilitate host movement and connectivity. These results highlight the need to understand local patterns of seasonality, demographic characteristics, and spatial heterogeneities to inform vaccination policy.
Project description:Throughout the African meningitis belt, meningococcal meningitis outbreaks occur only during the dry season. Measles in Niger exhibits similar seasonality, where increased population density during the dry season probably escalates measles transmission. Because meningococcal meningitis and measles are both directly transmitted, we propose that host aggregation also impacts the transmission of meningococcal meningitis. Although climate affects broad meningococcal meningitis seasonality, we focus on the less examined role of human density at a finer spatial scale. By analysing spatial patterns of suspected cases of meningococcal meningitis, we show fewer absences of suspected cases in districts along primary roads, similar to measles fadeouts in the same Nigerien metapopulation. We further show that, following periods during no suspected cases, districts with high reappearance rates of meningococcal meningitis also have high measles reintroduction rates. Despite many biological and epidemiological differences, similar seasonal and spatial patterns emerge from the dynamics of both diseases. This analysis enhances our understanding of spatial patterns and disease transmission and suggests hotspots for infection and potential target areas for meningococcal meningitis surveillance and intervention.
Project description:The seasonality and periodicity of infections, and the mechanisms underlying observed dynamics, can have implications for control efforts. This is particularly true for acute childhood infections. Among these, the dynamics of measles is the best understood and has been extensively studied, most notably in the UK prior to the start of vaccination. Less is known about the dynamics of other childhood diseases, particularly outside Europe and the United States. In this paper, we leverage a unique dataset to examine the epidemiology of six childhood infections - measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, scarlet fever and pertussis - across 32 states in Mexico from 1985 to 2007. This dataset provides us with a spatio-temporal probe into the dynamics of six common childhood infections, and allows us to compare them in the same setting over the same time period. We examine three key epidemiological characteristics of these infections - the age profile of infections, spatio-temporal dynamics, and seasonality in transmission - and compare them with predictions from existing theory and past findings. Our analysis reveals interesting epidemiological differences between the six pathogens, and variations across space. We find signatures of term-time forcing (reduced transmission during the summer) for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and scarlet fever; for pertussis, a lack of term-time forcing could not be rejected.