Modelling the skip-and-resurgence of Japanese encephalitis epidemics in Hong Kong

Shi Zhao, Yijun Lou, Alice P.Y. Chiu, Daihai He

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a zoonotic mosquito-borne virus, persisting in pigs, Ardeid birds and Culex mosquitoes. It is endemic to China and Southeastern Asia. The case-fatality ratio (CFR) or the rate of permanent psychiatric sequelae is 30% among symptomatic patients. There were no reported local JEV human cases between 2006 and 2010 in Hong Kong, but it was followed by a resurgence of cases from 2011 to 2017. The mechanism behind this “skip-and-resurgence” patterns is unclear. This work aims to reveal the mechanism behind the “skip-and-resurgence” patterns using mathematical modelling and likelihood-based inference techniques. We found that pig-to-pig transmission increases the size of JEV epidemics but is unlikely to maintain the same level of transmission among pigs. The disappearance of JEV human cases in 2006–2010 could be explained by a sudden reduction of the population of farm pigs as a result of the implementation of the voluntary “pig-rearing licence surrendering” policy. The resurgence could be explained by of a new strain in 2011, which increased the transmissibility of the virus or the spill-over ratio from reservoir to host or both.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2018


  • Japanese encephalitis virus
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Skip-and-resurgence
  • Vector-free transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

Cite this