Spatial and temporal invasion dynamics of the 2014-2017 Zika and chikungunya epidemics in Colombia

13 Sep 2020
Kelly Charniga, Zulma M Cucunub√°, Marcela Mercado, Franklyn Prieto, Martha Ospina, Pierre Nouvellet, Christl A Donnelly

Zika virus (ZIKV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) were recently introduced into the Americas resulting in significant disease burdens. Understanding their spatial and temporal dynamics at the subnational level is key to informing surveillance and preparedness for future epidemics. We analyzed anonymized line list data on approximately 105,000 Zika virus disease and 412,000 chikungunya fever suspected and laboratory-confirmed cases during the 2014-2017 epidemics. We first determined the week of invasion in each city. Out of 1,122, 288 cities met criteria for epidemic invasion by ZIKA and 338 cities by CHIKV. We estimated that the geographic origin of both epidemics was located in Barranquilla, north Colombia. Using gravity models, we assessed the spatial and temporal invasion dynamics of both viruses to analyze transmission between cities. Invasion risk was best captured when accounting for geographic distance and intermediate levels of density dependence. Although a few long-distance invasion events occurred at the beginning of the epidemics, an estimated distance power of 1.7 (95% CrI: 1.5-2.0) suggests that spatial spread was primarily driven by short-distance transmission. Cities with large populations were more likely to spread disease than cities with smaller populations. Similarities between the epidemics included having the same estimated geographic origin and having the same five parameters estimated in the best-fitting models. ZIKV spread considerably faster than CHIKV.