The role of residence times in two-patch dengue transmission dynamics and optimal strategies

Sunmi Lee, Carlos Castillo-Chavez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The reemergence and geographical dispersal of vector-borne diseases challenge global health experts around the world and in particular, dengue poses increasing difficulties in the Americas, due in part to explosive urban and semi-urban growth, increases of within and between region mobility, the absence of a vaccine, and the limited resources available for public health services. In this work, a simple deterministic two-patch model is introduced to assess the impact of dengue transmission dynamics in heterogeneous environments. The two-patch system models the movement (e.g. urban versus rural areas residence times) of individuals between and within patches/environments using residence-time matrices with entries that budget within and between host patch relative residence times, under the assumption that only the human budgets their residence time across regions. Three scenarios are considered: (i) resident hosts in Patch i visit patch j, where i≠. j but not the other way around, a scenario referred to as unidirectional motion; (ii) symmetric bi-directional motion; and (iii) asymmetric bi-directional motion. Optimal control theory is used to identify and evaluate patch-specific control measures aimed at reducing dengue prevalence in humans and vectors at a minimal cost. Optimal policies are computed under different residence-matrix configurations mentioned above as well as transmissibility scenarios characterized by the magnitude of the basic reproduction number. Optimal patch-specific polices can ameliorate the impact of epidemic outbreaks substantially when the basic reproduction number is moderate. The final patch-specific epidemic size variation increases as the residence time matrix moves away from the symmetric case (asymmetry). As expected, the patch where individuals spend most of their time or in the patch where transmissibility is higher tend to support larger patch-specific final epidemic sizes. Hence, focusing on intervention that target areas where individuals spend "most" time or where transmissibility is higher turn out to be optimal. Therefore, reducing traffic is likely to take a host-vector system into the world of manageable outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
StatePublished - Jun 7 2015


  • Dengue dynamics
  • Optimal patch-specific strategies
  • Residence-time matrix
  • Two-patch model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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