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Department of Biogeography

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein

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Tjaden, NB*; Beierkuhnlein, C; Englmeier, F; Thomas, S M: Chikungunya in Germany: Where and when could it happen?
Talk, National Symposium on Zoonoses Research, Berlin: 2018-10-17 - 2018-10-19

Background and objectives: Formerly considered a mostly tropical disease, chikungunya is already found in Southern Europe. With its vector Ae. albopictus starting to spread across the country and demonstrating the ability to survive German winters, the public health system needs to be prepared. Materials and methods: We use a species distribution model to identify areas climatically suitable for the vector. We analyse global flight passenger patterns and national imported incidence to find areas where introduction of the virus is likely. There, we use an epidemiological model to calculate the basic reproductive ratio R0, followed by an economic model to estimate the costs of a hypothetical chikungunya emergence. Results: Baden-Württemberg, the Saarland, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) show the highest numbers of climatically suitable counties for an establishment of the vector. Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and NRW have the highest suitability values, with further suitable areas in Bavaria. Similarly, high numbers of travellers returning from endemic areas are primarily reported from the South and West of Germany (Frankfurt, Munich, Rhein-Ruhr Area). The assessed medical costs during the acute phase are relatively low compared to the indirect costs caused by absenteeism. Conclusion: The preparedness of the public health system can be improved by projecting the likelihood of possible new vector-borne disease hazards arising in Germany.
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