Agent-based modeling of malaria vectors: the importance of spatial simulation

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Agent-based modeling of malaria vectors: the importance of spatial simulation

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Title: Agent-based modeling of malaria vectors: the importance of spatial simulation
Author: Bomblies, A.
Abstract: Background: The modeling of malaria vector mosquito populations yields great insight into drivers of malaria transmission at the village scale. Simulation of individual mosquitoes as "agents" in a distributed, dynamic model domain may be greatly beneficial for simulation of spatial relationships of vectors and hosts. Methods: In this study, an agent-based model is used to simulate the life cycle and movement of individual malaria vector mosquitoes in a Niger Sahel village, with individual simulated mosquitoes interacting with their physical environment as well as humans. Various processes that are known to be epidemiologically important, such as the dependence of parity on flight distance between developmental habitat and blood meal hosts and therefore spatial relationships of pools and houses, are readily simulated using this modeling paradigm. Impacts of perturbations can be evaluated on the basis of vectorial capacity, because the interactions between individuals that make up the population-scale metric vectorial capacity can be easily tracked for simulated mosquitoes and human blood meal hosts, without the need to estimate vectorial capacity parameters. Results: As expected, model results show pronounced impacts of pool source reduction from larvicide application and draining, but with varying degrees of impact depending on the spatial relationship between pools and human habitation. Results highlight the importance of spatially-explicit simulation that can model individuals such as in an agent-based model. Conclusions: The impacts of perturbations on village scale malaria transmission depend on spatial locations of individual mosquitoes, as well as the tracking of relevant life cycle events and characteristics of individual mosquitoes. This study demonstrates advantages of using an agent-based approach for village-scale mosquito simulation to address questions in which spatial relationships are known to be important.
URI: ./pubpdfs/Bomblies_2014_Parasites & Vectors.pdf
http://hdl.handle.net/2051/16997
Date: 2014

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