Feedbacks Between Mosquito-Borne Disease Transmission and Tourism in the Americas

Allison M. Gardner, Brian F. Allan, Sandra De Urioste-Stone, Brandon A. Lieberthal, Andrew Mackay, Aiman Soliman, Shaowen Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Background/Question/Methods The human-mediated introductions of the important vector mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus to many regions of the world, combined with a degree of human connectivity unprecedented in human history, has created a global landscape that greatly facilitates the emergence and re-emergence of arthropod-borne viruses. As a result, movement of infected humans has the potential to spark global epidemics of even poorly-known mosquito-borne diseases, such as occurred in the Americas following the first detection of chikungunya and Zika viruses in 2013 and 2015, respectively. At the same time, a recent United Nations Development Programme report suggests that traveler risk perceptions of mosquito-borne viruses may have substantial negative economic impacts on the South and Central American tourism sector, but how visitors perceive mosquito-borne disease risk and whether these risk perceptions alter domestic and international travel behavior remain underexplored questions that are of critical concern to developing nations with economies heavily reliant on tourism. This study seeks to 1) characterize human movement patterns and understand the contribution of human mobility to the spatio-temporal spread of mosquito-borne viruses in the Americas, and 2) evaluate the effects of mosquito-borne disease travel advisories on domestic and international tourism and traveler health risk perceptions. Results/Conclusions We use epidemiological modeling and social sensing data (e.g., mobile phone and social media data) to model human movements and their impact on mosquito-borne disease outbreaks. Our initial findings, including simulations of theoretical human mobility networks and analyses of empirical networks in Colombia, reveal that both connectivity and centrality of individual nodes and network topology influence the rate and trajectory of the spread of a pathogen on a network. These results are integrated with a mixed methods social science research approach to represent how outbreaks of infectious disease, and associated travel warnings and changes in tourism marketing mix, influence individual travelers' movement choices. Initial newspaper content analysis suggests that greater attention has been placed on Zika over chikungunya, and articles generally have focused on the presence of Zika in specific regions as opposed to safe travel practices. Ultimately, the consideration of mosquito-borne disease emergence and tourism as a coupled system will allow for the assessment of the efficacy of different intervention strategies to inhibit transmission, the impacts of knowledge of mosquito control efforts on travelers’ health risk perceptions, and the potential for altered travel patterns in response to mosquito-borne disease risk perceptions to influence the spatio-temporal trajectory of an epidemic. Wang
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationESA2019 Program
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • INHS

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    Gardner, A. M., Allan, B. F., De Urioste-Stone, S., Lieberthal, B. A., Mackay, A., Soliman, A., & Wang, S. (2019). Feedbacks Between Mosquito-Borne Disease Transmission and Tourism in the Americas. In ESA2019 Program