Impact of human mobility on the emergence of dengue epidemics in Pakistan

Amy Wesolowski, Taimur Qureshi, Maciej F. Boni, Pål Roe Sundsøy, Michael A. Johansson, Syed Basit Rasheed, Kenth Engø-Monsen, Caroline O. Buckee, Burton H. Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

297 Scopus citations


The recent emergence of dengue viruses into new susceptible human populations throughout Asia and the Middle East, driven in part by human travel on both local and global scales, represents a significant global health risk, particularly in areas with changing climatic suitability for the mosquito vector. In Pakistan, dengue has been endemic for decades in the southern port city of Karachi, but large epidemics in the northeast have emerged only since 2011. Pakistan is therefore representative of many countries on the verge of countrywide endemic dengue transmission, where prevention, surveillance, and preparedness are key priorities in previously dengue-free regions. We analyze spatially explicit dengue case data from a large outbreak in Pakistan in 2013 and compare the dynamics of the epidemic to an epidemiological model of dengue virus transmission based on climate and mobility data from ∼40 million mobile phone subscribers. We find that mobile phone-based mobility estimates predict the geographic spread and timing of epidemics in both recently epidemic and emerging locations. We combine transmission suitability maps with estimates of seasonal dengue virus importation to generate fine-scale dynamic risk maps with direct application to dengue containment and epidemic preparedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11887-11892
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 22 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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