Opportunities for improved surveillance and control of dengue from age-specific case data

  1. Isabel Rodriguez-Barraquer  Is a corresponding author
  2. Henrik Salje
  3. Derek A Cummings
  1. University of California, San Francisco, United States
  2. Institut Pasteur, France
  3. University of Florida, United States


One of the challenges faced by global disease surveillance efforts is the lack of comparability across systems. Reporting commonly focuses on overall incidence, despite differences in surveillance quality between and within countries. For most immunizing infections, the age distribution of incident cases provides a more robust picture of trends in transmission. We present a framework to estimate transmission intensity for dengue virus from age-specific incidence data, and apply it to 359 administrative units in Thailand, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico. Our estimates correlate well with those derived from seroprevalence data (the gold standard), capture the expected spatial heterogeneity in risk, and correlate with known environmental drivers of transmission. We show how this approach could be used to guide the implementation of control strategies such as vaccination. Since age-specific counts are routinely collected by many surveillance systems, they represent a unique opportunity to further our understanding of disease burden and risk for many diseases.

Data availability

The code to implement the model described in our study is available at https://github.com/isabelrodbar/dengue_foi. The case data used for the analyses is publicly available and can be accessed through the following links links: Brazil- http://tabnet.datasus.gov.br/cgi/deftohtm.exe?sih/cnv/mruf.def; Thailand - http://www.boe.moph.go.th/boedb/surdata/index.php; Colombia - http://www.ins.gov.co/lineas-de-accion/Subdireccion-Vigilancia/sivigila/Paginas/vigilancia-rutinaria.aspxand https://www.sispro.gov.co/Pages/Home.aspx; Mexico - http://www.epidemiologia.salud.gob.mx/anuario/html/anuarios.html.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Isabel Rodriguez-Barraquer

    Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-6784-1021
  2. Henrik Salje

    Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3626-4254
  3. Derek A Cummings

    Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.


National Institutes of Health (R01AI114703-01)

  • Derek A Cummings

European Research Council (804744)

  • Henrik Salje

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Jos WM van der Meer, Radboud University Medical Centre, Netherlands

Publication history

  1. Received: January 24, 2019
  2. Accepted: May 21, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 23, 2019 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 17, 2019 (version 2)


© 2019, Rodriguez-Barraquer et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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  1. Isabel Rodriguez-Barraquer
  2. Henrik Salje
  3. Derek A Cummings
Opportunities for improved surveillance and control of dengue from age-specific case data
eLife 8:e45474.

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