Seasonal and interannual risks of dengue introduction from South-East Asia into China, 2005-2015

by Shengjie Lai, Michael A. Johansson, Wenwu Yin, Nicola A. Wardrop, Willem G. van Panhuis, Amy Wesolowski, Moritz U. G. Kraemer, Isaac I. Bogoch, Dylain Kain, Aidan Findlater, Marc Choisy, Zhuojie Huang, Di Mu, Yu Li, Yangni He, Qiulan Chen, Juan Yang, Kamran Khan, Andrew J. Tatem, Hongjie Yu

Due to worldwide increased human mobility, air-transportation data and mathematical models have been widely used to measure risks of global dispersal of pathogens. However, the seasonal and interannual risks of pathogens importation and onward transmission from endemic countries have rarely been quantified and validated. We constructed a modelling framework, integrating air travel, epidemiological, demographical, entomological and meteorological data, to measure the seasonal probability of dengue introduction from endemic countries. This framework has been applied retrospectively to elucidate spatiotemporal patterns and increasing seasonal risk of dengue importation from South-East Asia into China via air travel in multiple populations, Chinese travelers and local residents, over a decade of 2005–15. We found that the volume of airline travelers from South-East Asia into China has quadrupled from 2005 to 2015 with Chinese travelers increased rapidly. Following the growth of air traffic, the probability of dengue importation from South-East Asia into China has increased dramatically from 2005 to 2015. This study also revealed seasonal asymmetries of transmission routes: Sri Lanka and Maldives have emerged as origins; neglected cities at central and coastal China have been increasingly vulnerable to dengue importation and onward transmission. Compared to the monthly occurrence of dengue reported in China, our model performed robustly for importation and onward transmission risk estimates. The approach and evidence could facilitate to understand and mitigate the changing seasonal threat of arbovirus from endemic regions.

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