Modelling for Science, for a better future - some recent outcomes

Temperature dependent transmission potential model for chikungunya in India

by Satya GaneshKakarla, RajasekharMopuri, Srinivas Rao Mutheneni, Kantha Rao Bhimala, Sriram Kumaraswamy, Madhusudhan Rao Kadiri, Krushna Chandra Gouda and Suryanaryana Murty Upadhyayula

Chikungunya is a major public health problem in tropical and subtropical countries of the world. During 2016, the National Capital Territory of Delhi experienced an epidemic caused by chikungunya virus with >12,000 cases. Similarly, other parts of India also reported a large number of chikungunya cases, highest incidence rate was observed during 2016 in comparison with last 10 years of epidemiological data. In the present study we exploited R0 mathematical model to understand the transmission risk of chikungunya virus which is transmitted by Aedes vectors. This mechanistic transmission model is climate driven and it predicts how the probability and transmission risk of chikungunya occurs in India. The gridded temperature data from 1948 to 2016 shows that the mean temperatures are gradually increasing in South India from 1982 to 2016 when compared with data of 1948–1981 time scale. During 1982–2016 period many states have reported gradual increase in risk of chikungunya transmission when compared with the 1948–1981 period. The highest transmission risk of chikungunya in India due to favourable ecoclimatic conditions, increasing temperature leads to low extrinsic incubation period, mortality rates and high biting rate were predicted for the year 2016. The epidemics in 2010 and 2016 are also strongly connected to El Nino conditions which favours transmission of chikungunya in India. The study shows that transmission of chikungunya occurs between 20 and 34 °C but the peak transmission occurs at 29 °C. The infections of chikungunya in India are due to availability of vectors and optimum temperature conditions influence chikungunya transmission faster in India. This climate based empirical model helps the public health authorities to assess the risk of chikungunya and one can implement necessary control measures before onset of disease outbreak.


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