Dr. Hans Heesterbeek
Dr. Quirine ten Bosch
Utrecht University, Wageningen University
+351 915 211 901
To accurately study the establishment of a vector-borne disease (VBD) and the possible development of an outbreak, we must understand the species present in that given ecosystem. The dynamics of a VBD will then be affected directly by the species that serve as a host for the vector, their respective ecological and epidemiological interactions, as well as indirectly by predators or competitors of the host species, competition with other vector species and the ecological interaction with non-host species. If we are to quantify emergence capabilities for VBD it is crucial to understand the influence of the ecosystem context and interactions.
Models and practical tools will be developed to quantify the influence of ecosystem characteristics on the emergence of VBD, using Usutu Virus (USUT) and West-Nile Virus (WNV) as case studies. The focus of these eco-epidemiological models will be the quantification of how those ecosystem dynamics and interactions affect R0. R0 is the measure to integrate all relevant factors in an assessment of outbreak risk, taking into consideration local conditions and temporal variations and allowing for optimal integration in risk maps at various levels. We will quantify contributions to R0 of the various host-vector combinations under a set of ecological conditions.
Research questions / objectives
Extend the generic modelling approach to fully incorporate vectors, hosts, non-hosts and their respective ecological interactions. Quantify how the species interactions affect R0 using compartmental models. Evaluate the sensitivity of the R0 estimates.