Forecasting the probability of local dengue outbreaks in Queensland, Australia.

Research paper by Jessica J Liebig, Frank F de Hoog, Dean D Paini, Raja R Jurdak

Indexed on: 20 Dec '20Published on: 20 Dec '20Published in: Epidemics


The global incidence of dengue is increasing, and many previously unaffected areas have reported local cases of the vector-borne disease in recent years. For the effective containment of local outbreaks health authorities rely on the prompt notification of new cases. However, due to severe under-reporting and misdiagnosis, non-endemic countries face difficulties in containing local outbreaks, and the possibility of dengue becoming endemic. Outbreak control measures in non-endemic countries are largely reactive and health authorities would benefit from a universal early warning system that forecasts the probability of dengue outbreaks for given times and locations. We develop a model that establishes a link between pre- and post-border risk of dengue outbreaks. Specifically, we predict the probability of travellers importing dengue from other countries as well as the probability of those travellers causing local outbreaks. Our model can act as an early warning system, forecasting likely times and places of dengue outbreaks. We run our model for the Australian state of Queensland over a period of twelve years. Our results reveal the airports where dengue infected travellers are most likely to arrive and geographic locations associated with high outbreak probabilities. Our results can be used by health authorities to better utilise prevention and control resources and lead to the development of new prevention measures. Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.