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Measles hotspots and epidemiological connectivity

  • N. BHARTI (a1), A. DJIBO (a2), M. J. FERRARI (a1), R. F. GRAIS (a3), A. J. TATEM (a4), C. A. McCABE (a5), O. N. BJORNSTAD (a1) (a6) (a7) and B. T. GRENFELL (a1) (a7)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 25 January 2010

Though largely controlled in developed countries, measles remains a major global public health issue. Regional and local transmission patterns are rooted in human mixing behaviour across spatial scales. Identifying spatial interactions that contribute to recurring epidemics helps define and predict outbreak patterns. Using spatially explicit reported cases from measles outbreaks in Niger, we explored how regional variations in movement and contact patterns relate to patterns of measles incidence. Because we expected to see lower rates of re-introductions in small, compared to large, populations, we measured the population-size corrected proportion of weeks with zero cases across districts to understand relative rates of measles re-introductions. We found that critical elements of spatial disease dynamics in Niger are agricultural seasonality, transnational contact clusters, and roads networks that facilitate host movement and connectivity. These results highlight the need to understand local patterns of seasonality, demographic characteristics, and spatial heterogeneities to inform vaccination policy.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr N. Bharti, Penn State University, 208Mueller Laboratory, University Park, PA16802, USA. (Email:
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