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Leptospira photo.

Archived NIMBioS Working Group

Leptospirosis Modeling

Topic: Mathematical modeling of Leptospira transmission and intervention strategies

Meeting dates: April 8-10, 2015; September 14-18, 2015; May 10-13, 2016; November 1-4, 2016

Claudia Munoz-Zanzi, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, Univ. of Minnesota
Jorge Velasco-Hernandez, Inst. of Mathematics, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Objectives: Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease with complex transmission dynamics and of global importance for public and animal health. This working group will use mathematical approaches for improving our knowledge in the general areas of i) transmission dynamics at a local scale involving multi-host systems as well as one or more circulating Leptospira strains and ii) mechanisms underlying temporal and spatial patterns of leptospirosis transmission. A diverse and multidisciplinary team of experts will develop new approaches to gain insight into the processes influencing the ecology and epidemiology of leptospirosis in complex natural systems. Mathematical models will be used to provide scientifically-based recommendations on optimal interventions and surveillance programs, which can assist with effective implementation of public and animal health programs. Broader impacts include innovations in mathematical methods and in methods to investigate zoonotic infections in general.

Ideas for this working group benefited from discussions at the NIMBioS Investigative Workshop on Leptospirosis Modeling.


Meeting Summaries

Mtg # Dates Agenda Summary Photo Evaluation
1 Apr 8-10, 2015 pdf Link Link Report
2 Sep 14-18, 2015 pdf Link Link
3 May 10-13, 2016 pdf Link Link
4 Nov 1-4, 2016 pdf Link Report

Meeting 1 Summary. At the first meeting of the Working Group, we reviewed a series of informal presentations summarizing the current state of knowledge and data gaps in leptospirosis transmission mechanisms, epidemiology, pathogen diversity, detection methods, and health impact in people and in animals. This was followed by an open discussion of the main research topics and study questions relevant to the areas of expertise and interests of the participants. Small groups were created based on the following general areas, which will guide specific research questions and study objectives: 1) Eco-epidemiology of leptospirosis, 2) Optimal case detection, 3) Early warning methods, and 4) Evaluation of interventions. One or more specific modeling studies were identified for each topic. Each group will be led by a mathematical modeler and a leptospirologist. Groups will begin work and share progress at the next meeting.

Meeting 2 Summary. During the second meeting of the Working Group, we continued to investigate Leptospira transmission mechanisms, possible interventions, early outbreak warning signs and early detection protocols. Updates on the models with chemoprophylaxis, early warning systems and multiple serovars systems were presented. Discussions on diagnostic protocols, interventions, single vs. multiple hosts, and types of available data were productive for formulating ecological-epidemiological models and approaches for early detection. Logistics for parameter gathering across the various modeling studies were established. Data from Thailand, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil will be used to parameterize several models to focus on specific locations.

Meeting 3 Summary. Updates were provided on current models under development focusing on ecology and transmission drivers: leptospirosis transmission in a multi-host/multi-strain system, environmental factors driving leptospirosis epidemics, and the role of dogs in urban leptospirosis. Intervention strategies are being evaluated in the areas of outbreak early warning systems, control measures portfolio management, early diagnosis of human leptospirosis cases, use of chemoprophylaxis to reduce incidence in high risk periods, and herd management to reduce transmission in cattle. Considerable time was spent on refining final details of the models as well as integrating and critically reviewing literature for parameterization.

Group photo.
Mtg. 4 participants (L to R): Suzanne O'Regan, Elizabeth Santiago, Matthew Gompper, Claudia Munoz-Zanzi, Andrea Previtali, Suzanne Lenhart, Rudy Hartskeerl, Cristina Schneider, Jorge Velasco-Hernandez.

Group photo.
Meeting 1 participants (L to R): Zhilan Feng, Rudy A. Hartskeerl, Suzanne O'Regan, Cristina Schneider, Andrea Previtali, Alejandro de la Pena-Moctezuma, Claudia Munoz-Zanzi, Matteo Convertino, Suzanne Lenhart, Vincent Herbreteau, Matthew Gompper, Jorge Velasco-Hernandez

Group photo.
Meeting 2 participants (L to R): Rudy A. Hartskeerl, Claudia Munoz-Zanzi, Suzanne Lenhart, Jorge Velasco-Hernandez, Suzanne O'Regan, Matteo Convertino, Andrea Previtali, Cristina Schneider. Not Pictured: Matthew Gompper, Alejandro de la Pena-Moctezuma.

Group photo.
Meeting 3 participants (L to R): Ibrahim Aslan, Matteo Convertino, Andrea Previtali, Rudy A. Hartskeerl, Elizabeth Santiago, Matthew Gompper, Suzanne O'Regan, Suzanne Lenhart, Zhilan Feng, Claudia Munoz-Zanzi, Jorge Velasco-Hernandez, Vincent Herbreteau.


NIMBioS Working Groups are chosen to focus on major scientific questions at the interface between biology and mathematics. NIMBioS is particularly interested in questions that integrate diverse fields, require synthesis at multiple scales, and/or make use of or require development of new mathematical/computational approaches. NIMBioS Working Groups are relatively small (up to 10 participants), focus on a well-defined topic, and have well-defined goals and metrics of success. Working Groups will meet up to 3 times over a two-year period, with each meeting lasting up to 2.5 days.

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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