Dengue importation into Europe: a network connectivity-based approach

Donald Salami, C. Capinha, MR Martins, CA Sousa

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The spread of dengue through global human mobility is a major public health concern. A key challenge is understanding the transmission pathways and mediating factors that characterized the patterns of dengue importation into non-endemic areas. Utilizing a network connectivity-based approach, we analyze the importation patterns of dengue fever into European countries. Seven connectivity indices were developed to characterize the role of the air passenger traffic, seasonality, incidence rate, geographical proximity, epidemic vulnerability, and wealth of a source country, in facilitating the transport and importation of dengue fever. We used generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) to examine the relationship between dengue importation and the connectivity indices while accounting for the air transport network structure. We also incorporated network autocorrelation within a GLMM framework to investigate the propensity of a European country to receive an imported case, by virtue of its position within the air transport network. The connectivity indices and dynamical processes of the air transport network were strong predictors of dengue importation in Europe. With more than 70% of the variation in dengue importation patterns explained. We found that transportation potential was higher for source countries with seasonal dengue activity, high passenger traffic, high incidence rates, high epidemic vulnerability, and in geographical proximity to a destination country in Europe. We also found that position of a European country within the air transport network was a strong predictor of the country's propensity to receive an imported case. Our findings provide evidence that the importation patterns of dengue into Europe can be largely explained by appropriately characterizing the heterogeneities of the source, and topology of the air transport network. This contributes to the foundational framework for building integrated predictive models for bio-surveillance of dengue importation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0230274
Pages (from-to)e0230274-e0230293
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2020


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