Researchers develop models to predict epidemics of yellow fever, other mosquito-borne diseases


Yellow fever was the first human disease to have a licensed vaccine and has long been considered important to an understanding of how epidemics happen and should be combated. It was introduced to the Americas in the seventeenth century, and high death rates have resulted from successive outbreaks since then. Epidemics of yellow fever were associated with the slave trade, the US gold rush and settlement of the Old West, the Haitian Revolution, and construction of the Panama Canal, to cite only a few examples.

Centuries after the disease was first reported in the Americas, an international team of researchers will embark on a groundbreaking study to develop models that predict epidemics of yellow fever and other diseases caused by mosquito-borne arboviruses such as dengue, zika, and chikungunya.

“Knowledge of these diseases, their cycles ,and the possibilities of new outbreaks is very well-established, but we still lack a systematic understanding of how to predict when outbreaks will occur. Our goal is to create predictive models to help monitor and combat outbreaks, protect the public, and develop a deeper understanding of the combination of factors that leads to epidemics,” said Maurício Lacerda Nogueira, a professor at the São José do Rio Preto Medical School (FAMERP) in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and a member of the CREATE-NEO project funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)…

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