Mathematics Faculty Articles


Modeling and control of local outbreaks of West Nile virus in the United States

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Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems – Series B


sensitive analysis, transmission dynamics., West Nile virus, mathematical modeling, basic reproduction number







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West Nile virus (WNV) was first detected in the United States (U.S.) during an outbreak in New York City in 1999 with 62 human cases including seven deaths. In 2001, the first human case in Florida was identified, and in Texas and California it was 2002 and 2004, respectively. WNV has now been spread to almost all states in the US. In 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2,175 human cases, including 146 deaths, from 45 states. WNV is maintained in a cycle between mosquitoes and animal hosts in which birds are the predominant and preferred reservoirs while most mammals, including humans, are considered dead-end hosts, as they do not appear to develop high enough titers of WNV in the blood to infect mosquitoes. In this article, we propose a deterministic model by including interactions among mosquitoes, birds, and humans to study the local transmission dynamics of WNV. To validate the model, it is used to simulate the WNV human data of infected cases and accumulative deaths from 1999 to 2013 in the states of New York, Florida, Texas, and California as reported to the CDC. These simulations demonstrate that the epidemic of WNV in New York, Texas, and California (and thus in the U.S.) has not reached its equilibrium yet and may be expected to get worse if the current control strategies are not enhanced. Mathematical and numerical analyses of the model are carried out to understand the transmission dynamics of WNV and explore effective control measures for the local outbreaks of the disease. Our studies suggest that the larval mosquito control measure should be taken as early as possible in a season to control the mosquito population size and the adult mosquito control measure is necessary to prevent the transmission of WNV from mosquitoes to birds and humans.



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