Arbovirus diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika are increasing in their global presence with 3.9 billion people at risk of infection in 120 countries. Rising incidence and large-scale outbreaks are largely due to inadequate living conditions, naïve populations, global trade and population mobility, climate change, and the aggressive nature of the principle mosquito vectors Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The health and financial burden of these diseases is staggering and the control of the Aedes mosquito vector is central to their prevention. There are important gaps in current research which includes a comprehensive examination of potential spatiotemporal drivers of these diseases to better understand disease dynamics and to quantify the mutual dependencies between chikungunya, dengue, and Zika. Of critical importance is the generation of methodologically sound evidence for effective and sustainable Aedes control in endemic countries.
The central aim of my research over the next four years is to understand the spatiotemporal determinants of chikungunya, dengue, and Zika risk, to identify accurate disease forecasting methods, and to evaluate prevention and control interventions. Specifically, I will: 1) determine the spatiotemporal patterns and drivers of arboviral diseases; and 2) develop and evaluate arboviral disease forecasting models; and 3) estimate the effectiveness of an equity-based EcoHealth randomized controlled trial (RCT) intervention for arboviral disease control and prevention. My work will greatly add to our understanding of the epidemiological profiles of chikungunya, dengue, and Zika, which is necessary for targeted and integrated evidence-based Aedes control and prevention programs. Crucially, the results from the RCT will provide further evidence to inform vector control programs in endemic and at-risk countries. This collective work also has relevance in Canada with the recent identification of the Aedes vector in Ontario and for Canadians travelling and living abroad.