Etiology of interepidemic periods of mosquito-borne disease
Hay SI, Myers MF, Burke DS, Vaughn DW, Endy T, Ananda N, Shanks GD, Snow RW, Rogers DJ
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000;97
Dengue viruses and malaria protozoa are of increasing global concern in public health. The diseases caused by these pathogens often show regular seasonal patterns in incidence because of the sensitivity of their mosquito vectors to climate. Between years in endemic areas, however, there can be further significant variation in case numbers for which public health systems are generally unprepared. There is an acute need for reliable predictions of within-year and between-year epidemic events. The prerequisite for developing any system of early warning is a detailed understanding of the factors involved in epidemic genesis. In this report we discuss the potential causes of the interepidemic periods in dengue hemorrhagic fever in Bangkok and of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in a highland area of western Kenya. The alternative causes are distinguished by a retrospective analysis of two unique and contemporaneous 33-year time series of epidemiological and associated meteorological data recorded at these two sites. We conclude that intrinsic population dynamics offer the most parsimonious explanation for the observed interepidemic periods of disease in these locations.