Dengue fever is a severe public heath challenge in south China. A dengue outbreak was reported in Chaozhou city, China in 2015. Intensified interventions were implemented by the government to control the epidemic. However, it is still unknown the degree to which intensified control measures reduced the size of the epidemics, and when should such measures be initiated to reduce the risk of large dengue outbreaks developing?
We selected Xiangqiao district as study setting because the majority of the indigenous cases (90.6%) in Chaozhou city were from this district. The numbers of daily indigenous dengue cases in 2015 were collected through the national infectious diseases and vectors surveillance system, and daily Breteau Index (BI) data were reported by local public health department. We used a compartmental dynamic SEIR (Susceptible, Exposed, Infected and Removed) model to assess the effectiveness of control interventions, and evaluate the control effect of intervention timing on dengue epidemic.
A total of 1250 indigenous dengue cases was reported from Xiangqiao district. The results of SEIR modeling using BI as an indicator of actual control interventions showed a total of 1255 dengue cases, which is close to the reported number (n = 1250). The size and duration of the outbreak were highly sensitive to the intensity and timing of interventions. The more rigorous and earlier the control interventions implemented, the more effective it yielded. Even if the interventions were initiated several weeks after the onset of the dengue outbreak, the interventions were shown to greatly impact the prevalence and duration of dengue outbreak.
This study suggests that early implementation of rigorous dengue interventions can effectively reduce the epidemic size and shorten the epidemic duration.