An agent-based model of tsetse fly response to seasonal climatic drivers: Assessing the impact on sleeping sickness transmission rates

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Simon AldertonPeter M Atkinson


This paper presents the development of an agent-based model (ABM) to incorporate climatic drivers which affect tsetse fly (G. m. morsitans) population dynamics, and ultimately disease transmission. The model was used to gain a greater understanding of how tsetse populations fluctuate seasonally, and investigate any response observed in Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense human African trypanosomiasis (rHAT) disease transmission, with a view to gaining a greater understanding of disease dynamics. Such an understanding is essential for the development of appropriate, well-targeted mitigation strategies in the future. The ABM was developed to model rHAT incidence at a fine spatial scale along a 75 km transect in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. The model incorporates climatic factors that affect pupal mortality, pupal development, birth rate, and death rate. In combination with fine scale demographic data such as ethnicity, age and gender for the human population in the region, as well as an animal census and a sample of daily routines, we create a detailed, plausible simulation model to explore tsetse population and disease transmission dynamics. The seasonally-driven model suggests that the number of infections reported annually in the si...Continue Reading


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