Eck Family Assistant Professor
University of Notre Dame
Recent years have seen rising incidence of dengue and large outbreaks of Zika and chikungunya, which are all caused by viruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. In most settings, the primary intervention against Aedes-transmitted viruses is vector control, such as indoor, ultra-low volume (ULV) spraying. Targeted indoor residual spraying (TIRS) has the potential to more effectively impact Aedes-borne diseases, but its implementation requires careful planning and evaluation. The optimal time to deploy these interventions and their relative epidemiological effects are, however, not well understood. We used an agent-based model of dengue virus transmission calibrated to data from Iquitos, Peru to assess the epidemiological effects of these interventions under differing strategies for deploying them. Specifically, we compared strategies where spray application was initiated when incidence rose above a threshold based on incidence in recent years to strategies where spraying occurred at the same time(s) each year. In the absence of spraying, the model predicted 361,000 infections [inter-quartile range (IQR): 347,000-383,000] in the period 2000-2010. The ULV strategy with the fewest median infections was spraying twice yearly, in March and October, which led to a median of 172,000 infections [IQR: 158,000-183,000], a 52% reduction from baseline. Compared to spraying once yearly in September, the best threshold-based strategy utilizing ULV had fewer median infections (254,000 vs. 261,000), but required more spraying (351 vs. 274 days). For TIRS, the best strategy was threshold-based, which led to the fewest infections of all strategies tested (9,900; [IQR: 8,720-11,400], a 94% reduction), and required fewer days spraying than the equivalent ULV strategy (280). Although spraying twice each year is likely to avert the most infections, our results indicate that a threshold-based strategy can become an alternative to better balance the translation of spraying effort into impact, particularly if used with a residual insecticide.