Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases (RCE)
The Southeast Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease (RCE-VBD) is a highly collaborative research program focused on stopping diseases such as Zika before they spread farther into the United States. The Center is based at University of Florida and involves researchers from University of Miami, Florida International University, University of South Florida, and University of Washington.
Dr. Cummings leads one of the 4 main projects funded by the RCE-VBD: Multi-scale, Modular Models for Vector-Borne Disease. Models of arbovirus transmission have been useful in estimating disease burden and forecasting areas at risk of disease emergence, but the utility of these models relies upon their being grounded in empirical data of the disease transmission process at multiple scales. This project seeks to utilize a multi-scale modeling framework, incorporating a range of data on vector abundance and behavioral patterns, human travel and movement, and other spatiotemporal covariates, to estimate the value of information obtained through specific surveillance activities and to determine the most efficient ways of measuring the impact of intervention strategies.
One ongoing aspect of this project is to evaluate the spatiotemporal distribution of key vectors, including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. We have worked closely with mosquito control boards, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Health to acquire mosquito surveillance data which will be used along with various climate and urbanization covariates to validate existing global spatiotemporal maps and reveal finer resolution on a county scale. Relatedly, we are investigating mosquito marking techniques through field-based studies in order to improve surveillance and provide more specific insight to vector distributions, behaviors, and control efforts. We will also utilize aircraft travel data centered in Florida to better understand the dynamics of Zika virus introductions.
Find out more at: http://cdcsercoevbd-flgateway.org/