Spatial-temporal epidemiological analyses of two sympatric, co-endemic alphaviral diseases in Queensland, Australia

Pelecanos, Anita M., Ryan, Peter A., & Gatton, Michelle L. (2011) Spatial-temporal epidemiological analyses of two sympatric, co-endemic alphaviral diseases in Queensland, Australia. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 11(4), pp. 375-382.

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Background: The two most reported mosquito-borne diseases in Queensland, a northern state of Australia, are Ross River virus (RRV) disease and Barmah Forest virus (BFV) disease. Both diseases are endemic in Queensland and have similar clinical symptoms and comparable transmission cycles involving a complex inter-relationship between human hosts, various mosquito vectors, and a range of nonhuman vertebrate hosts, including marsupial mammals that are unique to the Australasian region. Although these viruses are thought to share similar vectors and vertebrate hosts, RRV is four times more prevalent than BFV in Queensland.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of BFV and RRV human disease notification data collected from 1995 to 2007 in Queensland to ascertain whether there were differences in the incidence patterns of RRV and BFV disease. In particular, we compared the temporal incidence and spatial distribution of both diseases and considered the relationship between their disease dynamics. We also investigated whether a peak in BFV incidence during spring was indicative of the following RRV and BFV transmission season incidence levels.

Results: Although there were large differences in the notification rates of the two diseases, they had similar annual temporal patterns, but there were regional variations between the length and magnitude of the transmission seasons. During periods of increased disease activity, however, there was no association between the dynamics of the two diseases.

Conclusions: The results from this study suggest that while RRV and BFV share similar mosquito vectors, there are significant differences in the ecology of these viruses that result in different epidemic patterns of disease incidence. Further investigation is required into the ecology of each virus to determine which factors are important in promoting RRV and BFV disease outbreaks.

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ID Code: 75107
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Australia, Barmah Forest virus, Mosquito-borne disease, Ross River virus
DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2009.0256
ISSN: 1557-7759
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Copyright Statement: This is a copy of an article published in Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases © 2011 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases is available online at:
Deposited On: 18 Aug 2014 02:23
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2014 00:47

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