The seasonal influence of climate and environment on yellow fever transmission across Africa
In this article, we describe the development of a model to quantify the seasonal dynamics of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission across Africa. YFV is a flavivirus transmitted, within Africa, primarily by Aedes spp where it causes an estimated 78,000 deaths a year despite the presence of a safe and effective vaccine. The importance of sufficient vaccination, made difficult by a global shortage, has been highlighted by recent large scale, devastating, outbreaks in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Brazil. Here we describe a novel way of parameterising the effect of temperature on YFV transmission and implement statistical models to predict both the geographic and temporal heterogeneities in transmissions, while demonstrating their robustness in comparison to models simply predicting geographic distribution. We believe this quantification of seasonality could lead to more precise applications of vaccination campaigns and vector-control programmes. In turn this would help maximise their impact, especially vital with limited resources, and could contribute to lessening the risk of large scale outbreaks. Not only this, but the methods described here could be applied to other Aedes-borne diseases and as such provide a useful tool in understanding, and combatting, several other important diseases such as dengue and zika.