A dynamic, ensemble learning approach to forecast dengue fever epidemic years in Brazil using weather and population susceptibility cycles

J R Soc Interface. 2021 Jun;18(179):20201006. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2020.1006. Epub 2021 Jun 16.


Transmission of dengue fever depends on a complex interplay of human, climate and mosquito dynamics, which often change in time and space. It is well known that its disease dynamics are highly influenced by multiple factors including population susceptibility to infection as well as by microclimates: small-area climatic conditions which create environments favourable for the breeding and survival of mosquitoes. Here, we present a novel machine learning dengue forecasting approach, which, dynamically in time and space, identifies local patterns in weather and population susceptibility to make epidemic predictions at the city level in Brazil, months ahead of the occurrence of disease outbreaks. Weather-based predictions are improved when information on population susceptibility is incorporated, indicating that immunity is an important predictor neglected by most dengue forecast models. Given the generalizability of our methodology to any location or input data, it may prove valuable for public health decision-making aimed at mitigating the effects of seasonal dengue outbreaks in locations globally.

Keywords: dengue; ensemble; forecasting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Dengue* / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Epidemics*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Weather

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5448568