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Ticks on the Run: A Mathematical Model of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)—Key Factors for Transmission

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a zoonotic disease caused by the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV). Ticks of the genus Hyalomma are the main vectors and represent a reservoir for the virus. CCHF is maintained in nature in an endemic vertebrate-tick-vertebrate cycle. The disease is prevalent in wide geographical areas including Asia, Africa, South-Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It is of great importance for the public health given its occasionally high case/fatality ratio of CCHFV in humans. Climate change and the detection of possible CCHFV vectors in Central Europe suggest that the establishment of the transmission in Central Europe may be possible in future. We have developed a compartment-based nonlinear Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE) system to model the disease transmission cycle including blood sucking ticks, livestock and human. Sensitivity analysis of the basic reproduction number R0 shows that decreasing the tick survival time is an efficient method to control the disease. The model supports us in understanding the influence of different model parameters on the spread of CCHFV. Tick-to-tick transmission through co-feeding and the CCHFV circulation through transstadial and transovarial transmission are important factors to sustain the disease cycle. The proposed model dynamics are calibrated through an empirical multi-country analysis and multidimensional plot reveals that the disease-parameter sets of different countries burdened with CCHF are different. This information may help decision makers to select efficient control strategies.

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