Measuring mosquito-borne viral suitability in Myanmar and implications for local Zika virus transmission
Perez PN., Obolski U., Alcantara LCJ., Maia de Lima M., Ashley EA., Smithuis F., Horby P., Maude RJ., Zaw L., Kyaw AM., Lourenço J.
Abstract INTRODUCTION: In South East Asia, mosquito-borne viruses (MBVs) have long been a cause of high disease burden and significant economic costs. While in some SEA countries the epidemiology of MBVs is spatio-temporally well characterised and understood, in others such as Myanmar our understanding is largely incomplete. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Here, we use a simple mathematical approach to estimate a climate-driven suitability index aiming to better characterise the intrinsic, spatio-temporal potential of MBVs in Myanmar. RESULTS: Results show that the timing and amplitude of the natural oscillations of our suitability index are highly informative for the temporal patterns of DENV case counts at the country level, and a mosquito-abundance measure at a city level. When projected at fine spatial scales, the suitability index suggests that the time period of highest MBV transmission potential is between June and October independently of geographical location. Higher potential is nonetheless found along the middle axis of the country and in particular in the southern corridor of international borders with Thailand. DISCUSSION: This research complements and expands our current understanding of MBV transmission potential in Myanmar, by identifying key spatial heterogeneities and temporal windows of importance for surveillance and control. We discuss our findings in the context of Zika virus given its recent worldwide emergence, public health impact, and current lack of information on its epidemiology and transmission potential in Myanmar. The proposed suitability index here demonstrated is applicable to other regions of the world for which surveillance data is missing, either due to lack of resources or absence of an MBV of interest.