Quantifying the risk of local Zika virus transmission in the contiguous US during the 2015-2016 ZIKV epidemic

BMC Medicine
Kaiyuan SunAlessandro Vespignani


Local mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission has been reported in two counties in the contiguous United States (US), prompting the issuance of travel, prevention, and testing guidance across the contiguous US. Large uncertainty, however, surrounds the quantification of the actual risk of ZIKV introduction and autochthonous transmission across different areas of the US. We present a framework for the projection of ZIKV autochthonous transmission in the contiguous US during the 2015-2016 epidemic using a data-driven stochastic and spatial epidemic model accounting for seasonal, environmental, and detailed population data. The model generates an ensemble of travel-related case counts and simulates their potential to have triggered local transmission at the individual level in the 2015-2016 ZIKV epidemic. We estimate the risk of ZIKV introduction and local transmission at the county level and at the 0.025° × 0.025° cell level across the contiguous US. We provide a risk measure based on the probability of observing local transmission in a specific location during a ZIKV epidemic modeled after the epidemic observed during the years 2015-2016. The high spatial and temporal resolution of the model allows us to generate statistic...Continue Reading


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