MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Daihai He PhD
Department of Applied Mathematics
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Hong Kong (SAR), China
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Zika virus disease has large outbreaks in many Pacific and American countries in 2016, and the outbreaks are still on-going. Our work is conducted against this background. We compared data from three localities: French Polynesia in 2013-2014, Colombia and Brazil in 2016. We found that in French Polynesia the infection attack rate (i.e. the proportion of the population who got infected) is about 3/4, which matched previous serological studies. We then make estimation for the other two place. We found that the infection attack rate in Colombia in 2016 was most likely less than 50%. For Bahia province of Brazil, we did not arrive at a very accurate estimation, as the confidence interval is wide, and our best estimate is 30%. The relatively low infection attack rate in Colombia and Brazil implies that future outbreaks of Zika virus diseases are still possible. Thus control and surveillance efforts should be continued.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We used mathematical models and a statistical package in R called ‘POMP’. This work again shows that well-developed mathematical models with clear biological meanings, together with powerful statistical package can be used in assessing the impact of disease outbreaks. And they are very useful in informing public health policies. In our model, we assume the mosquito population size is time-dependent, which is a more realistic assumption and is frequently neglected by other studies.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: It is important to assess the infection attack rate after a disease outbreak. This will give us a clear idea whether another outbreak will be likely or not. Serological works are underway. We expect that our finding will be supported by serological works. Our estimate is still preliminary, serological work will provide more accurate estimate. But large scale (country wide) serological work is very expensive and time consuming. Thus adding results of medium scale serological work and mathematical modeling and simulations will likely provide an evidence base for informing public health policies.
As we stated in our paper, future works “on the biology/seasonality/distribution of mosquitoes in these places are needed, both directly on mosquitoes and indirectly through studies of other mosquito-borne diseases (such as dengue in these regions). The inhomogeneities of incidence rates across gender and age also deserve further studies.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
A comparison study of Zika virus outbreaks in French Polynesia, Colombia and the State of Bahia in Brazil
Daihai He,Daozhou Gao,Yijun Lou,Shi Zhao & Shigui Ruan
Scientific Reports7, Article number: 273 (2017)
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