Impact of environment and control strategies on the dynamics of Rift Valley fever
Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest animal in the world because of the devastating diseases that they carry. These include Rift Valley fever, whose outbreaks can lead to large economic losses to farmers, and sometimes hundreds of deaths in humans.
Many strategies to tackle mosquito-borne diseases have been proposed, for instance vaccination, change in water-body dynamics (due to, e.g. irrigation) and reduction of the mosquito population (via insecticides or releasing genetically modified, non-biting, male mosquitoes incapable of producing viable offspring). Mathematical models are powerful tools to safely assess these control strategies before applying them in the real world. These models need to capture the effects of weather/climate as mosquitoes thrive in warm and wet regions, to determine under which environmental conditions the mosquito population and/or the infection can fade out or establish.
In this project we are developing and using models to assess the efficacy of classical and novel (e.g. release of genetically modified mosquitoes) strategies and some of their combinations. The modelling work will be relevant/applicable to other widespread vector-borne diseases.