Individual-based network model for Rift Valley fever in Kabale District, Uganda

PLoS One. 2019 Mar 5;14(3):e0202721. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202721. eCollection 2019.


Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic disease, that causes significant morbidity and mortality among ungulate livestock and humans in endemic regions. In East Africa, the causative agent of the disease is Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) which is primarily transmitted by multiple mosquito species in Aedes and Mansonia genera during both epizootic and enzootic periods in a complex transmission cycle largely driven by environmental and climatic factors. However, recent RVFV activity in Uganda demonstrated the capability of the virus to spread into new regions through livestock movements, and underscored the need to develop effective mitigation strategies to reduce transmission and prevent spread among cattle populations. We simulated RVFV transmission among cows in 22 different locations of the Kabale District in Uganda using real world livestock data in a network-based model. This model considered livestock as a spatially explicit factor in different locations subjected to specific vector and environmental factors, and was configured to investigate and quantitatively evaluate the relative impacts of mosquito control, livestock movement, and diversity in cattle populations on the spread of the RVF epizootic. We concluded that cattle movement should be restricted for periods of high mosquito abundance to control epizootic spreading among locations during an RVF outbreak. Importantly, simulation results also showed that cattle populations with heterogeneous genetic diversity as crossbreeds were less susceptible to infection compared to homogenous cattle populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Migration
  • Animals
  • Cattle / genetics
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / transmission
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Livestock
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Mosquito Vectors / virology
  • Rift Valley Fever / epidemiology*
  • Rift Valley Fever / transmission
  • Uganda / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology*
  • Zoonoses / transmission

Grant support

This work was supported by United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, grant number FX17BF-10777R029 awarded to JAR and MS. The work was also funded by United States Department of Agriculture grant numbers 3020-32000-008-04-S and 2015-67013-23818 to CS. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.