Vector-borne diseases

Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) include some of the most dynamic threats to global human health. It is a field that has seen great success stories in the elimination of some neglected tropical diseases (e.g. lymphatic filariasis and trachoma) and challenges in sustaining progress in disease control (e.g. malaria) and building resilience to emerging and re-emerging pathogens (e.g. dengue, Zika and yellow fever).

The theme that links all VBDs is a high degree of heterogeneity introduced by complex interactions between host, pathogen, vector and the environment in which they co-habit. This presents a series of unique and specific challenges for modelling of VBDs. In particular, capturing heterogeneities in space and over time. The impact of environmental change and the way in which different interventions affect transmission requires careful consideration. VBD dynamics rarely comply with classical susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR)-type mechanistic modelling approach and require a more bespoke model formulation.

Our current research spans a range of scales of VBD dynamics and diseases:


  • Global mapping and burden estimation of dengue, chikungunya and Zika
  • Assessing the impact of global environmental change on VBDs
  • Predicting the potential for global geographic spread of arboviruses


  • Forecasting of dengue epidemics in South East Asia and the Caribbean, including the assessment of control programmes
  • Understanding the relative role of environmental change and control interventions on malaria risk in South America
  • Phylogeographic insights into dengue spread in Latin America

Population level:

  • Inferring cross reactivity and transmission dynamics of dengue and Zika using seroprevalence surveys in Fiji


  • Disentangling the importance of mosquito biting behaviour for malaria transmission


Oliver Brady (theme lead), Laith YakobAdam KucharskiAlasdair HendersonKath O’ReillySebastian FunkYang LiuEleanor Rees Isabel FletcherJulian Villabona-Arenas, Eleanor Rees, Emily Nightingale, Sophie Lee, Felipe Colon and Leo Bastos

Latest publications by VBD theme members:

Brady, OJ; Slater, HC; Pemberton-Ross, P; Wenger, E; Maude, RJ; Ghani, AC; Penny, MA; Gerardin, J; White, LJ; Chitnis, N; Aguas, R; Hay, SI; Smith, DL; Stuckey, EM; Okiro, EA; Smith, TA; Okell, LC; (2017) Role of mass drug administration in elimination of Plasmodium falciparum malaria: a consensus modelling study. The Lancet Global health. ISSN 2214-109X DOI:

Lowe, R; Gasparrini, A; Van Meerbeeck, CJ; Lippi, CA; Mahon, R; Trotman, AR; Rollock, L; Hinds, AQJ; Ryan, SJ; Stewart-Ibarra, AM; (2018) Nonlinear and delayed impacts of climate on dengue risk in Barbados: A modelling study. PLoS medicine, 15 (7). e1002613. ISSN 1549-1277 DOI:

Yakob, L; Cameron, M; Lines, J; (2017) Combining indoor and outdoor methods for controlling malaria vectors: an ecological model of endectocide-treated livestock and insecticidal bed nets. Malaria journal,16 (1). p. 114. ISSN 1475-2875 DOI:

Funk, SKucharski, AJ; Camacho, A; Eggo, RM; Yakob, L; Murray, LM; Edmunds, WJ; (2016) Comparative Analysis of Dengue and Zika Outbreaks Reveals Differences by Setting and Virus. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 10 (12). e0005173. ISSN 1935-2727 DOI:

O’Reilly, KMLowe, R; Edmunds, WJ; Mayaud, P; Kucharski, A; Eggo, RM; Funk, S; Bhatia, D; Khan, K; Kraemer, MUG; Wilder-Smith, A; Rodrigues, LC; Brasil, P; Massad, E; Jaenisch, T; Cauchemez, S; Brady, OJ;Yakob, L; (2018) Projecting the end of the Zika virus epidemic in Latin America: a modelling analysis. BMC medicine, 16 (1). p. 180. ISSN 1741-7015 DOI:

Kucharski, AJ; Kama, M; Watson, CH; Aubry, M; Funk, S; Henderson, AD; Brady, OJ; Vanhomwegen, J; Manuguerra, JC; Lau, CL; Edmunds, WJ; Aaskov, J; Nilles, EJ; Cao-Lormeau, VM; Hué, S; Hibberd, ML; (2018) Using paired serology and surveillance data to quantify dengue transmission and control during a large outbreak in Fiji. eLife, 7. ISSN 2050-084X DOI: