Seven challenges for modelling indirect transmission: vector-borne diseases, macroparasites and neglected tropical diseases.
Hollingsworth TD., Pulliam JRC., Funk S., Truscott JE., Isham V., Lloyd AL.
Many of the challenges which face modellers of directly transmitted pathogens also arise when modelling the epidemiology of pathogens with indirect transmission--whether through environmental stages, vectors, intermediate hosts or multiple hosts. In particular, understanding the roles of different hosts, how to measure contact and infection patterns, heterogeneities in contact rates, and the dynamics close to elimination are all relevant challenges, regardless of the mode of transmission. However, there remain a number of challenges that are specific and unique to modelling vector-borne diseases and macroparasites. Moreover, many of the neglected tropical diseases which are currently targeted for control and elimination are vector-borne, macroparasitic, or both, and so this article includes challenges which will assist in accelerating the control of these high-burden diseases. Here, we discuss the challenges of indirect measures of infection in humans, whether through vectors or transmission life stages and in estimating the contribution of different host groups to transmission. We also discuss the issues of "evolution-proof" interventions against vector-borne disease.