How much complexity is needed to describe the fluctuations observed in dengue hemorrhagic fever incidence data?

M. Aguiar, B.W. Kooi, F. Rocha, P. Ghaffari, N. Stollenwerk

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Different extensions of the classical single-strain SIR model for the host population, motivated by modeling dengue fever epidemiology, have reported a rich dynamic structure including deterministic chaos which was able to mimic the large fluctuations of disease incidences. A comparison between the basic two-strain dengue model, which already captures differences between primary and secondary infections including temporary cross-immunity, with the four-strain dengue model, that introduces the idea of competition of multiple strains in dengue epidemics shows that the difference between first and secondary infections drives the rich dynamics more than the detailed number of strains to be considered in the model structure. Chaotic dynamics were found to happen in the same parameter region of interest, for both the two and the four-strain models, able to describe the fluctuations observed in empirical data and shows a qualitatively good agreement between empirical data and model simulation. The predictability of the system does not change significantly when considering two or four strains, i.e. both models present a positive dominant Lyapunov exponent giving approximately the same prediction horizon in time series. Since the law of parsimony favors the simplest of two competing models, the two-strain model would be the better candidate to be analyzed, as well the best option for estimating all initial conditions and the few model parameters based on the available incidence data. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-40
    JournalEcological Complexity
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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