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Emergence and prevalence of human vector-borne diseases in sink vector populations

Abstract : Vector-borne diseases represent a major public health concern in most tropical and subtropical areas, and an emerging threat for more developed countries. Our understanding of the ecology, evolution and control of these diseases relies predominantly on theory and data on pathogen transmission in large self-sustaining 'source' populations of vectors representative of highly endemic areas. However, there are numerous places where environmental conditions are less favourable to vector populations, but where immigration allows them to persist. We built an epidemiological model to investigate the dynamics of six major human vector borne-diseases in such non self-sustaining 'sink' vector populations. The model was parameterized through a review of the literature, and we performed extensive sensitivity analysis to look at the emergence and prevalence of the pathogen that could be encountered in these populations. Despite the low vector abundance in typical sink populations, all six human diseases were able to spread in 15-55% of cases after accidental introduction. The rate of spread was much more strongly influenced by vector longevity, immigration and feeding rates, than by transmission and virulence of the pathogen. Prevalence in humans remained lower than 5% for dengue, leishmaniasis and Japanese encephalitis, but substantially higher for diseases with longer duration of infection; malaria and the American and African trypanosomiasis. Vector-related parameters were again the key factors, although their influence was lower than on pathogen emergence. Our results emphasize the need for ecology and evolution to be thought in the context of metapopulations made of a mosaic of sink and source habitats, and to design vector control program not only targeting areas of high vector density, but working at a larger spatial scale
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Guilhem Rascalou, Dominique Pontier, Frédéric Menu, Sébastien Gourbière. Emergence and prevalence of human vector-borne diseases in sink vector populations. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7 (5), pp.e36858. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0036858⟩. ⟨halsde-00700379⟩

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