Skip to main content

The Impact of Community Organization on Vector-Borne Pathogens

Author(s): Roche, Benjamin; Rohani, Pejman; Dobson, Andrew P.; Guégan, Jean-François

To refer to this page use:
Abstract: Vector-borne zoonotic disease agents, which are known to often infect multiple species in the wild, have been identified as an emerging threat to human health. Understanding the ecology of these pathogens is especially timely, given the continued anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity. Here, we integrate empirical scaling laws from community ecology within a theoretical reservoir-vector-pathogen framework to study the transmission consequences of host community structure and diversity within large assemblages. We show that heterogeneity in susceptibility of the reservoir species promotes transmission “dilution,” while a greater vector species richness “amplifies” it. These contrasting transmission impacts of vector and reservoir communities can yield very different epidemiological patterns. We demonstrate that vector and reservoir species richness can explain per se most of the pathogen transmission observed for West Nile virus in different parts of the United States, giving empirical support for the validity of these opposing theoretically predicted effects. We conclude that, in the context of disease emergence, the integration of a community perspective can provide critical insights into the understanding of pathogen transmission in wildlife.
Publication Date: Jan-2013
Citation: Roche, Benjamin, Rohani, Pejman, Dobson, Andrew P., Guégan, Jean-François. (2013). The Impact of Community Organization on Vector-Borne Pathogens. The American Naturalist, 181 (1), 1 - 11. doi:10.1086/668591
DOI: doi:10.1086/668591
ISSN: 0003-0147
EISSN: 1537-5323
Pages: 1 - 11
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: The American Naturalist
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.