Local introduction and heterogeneous spatial spread of dengue-suppressing Wolbachia through an urban population of Aedes aegypti

Schmidt, Tom L., Barton, Nicholas H., Rašić, Gordana, Turley, Andrew P., Montgomery, Brian L., Iturbe-Ormaetxe, Inaki, Cook, Peter E., Ryan, Peter A., Ritchie, Scott A., Hoffmann, Ary A., O'Neill, Scott L., and Turelli, Michael (2017) Local introduction and heterogeneous spatial spread of dengue-suppressing Wolbachia through an urban population of Aedes aegypti. PLoS Biology, 15 (5). e2001894.

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Abstract

Dengue-suppressing Wolbachia strains are promising tools for arbovirus control, particularly as they have the potential to self-spread following local introductions. To test this, we followed the frequency of the transinfected Wolbachia strain wMel through Ae. aegypti in Cairns, Australia, following releases at 3 nonisolated locations within the city in early 2013. Spatial spread was analysed graphically using interpolation and by fitting a statistical model describing the position and width of the wave. For the larger 2 of the 3 releases (covering 0.97 km 2 and 0.52 km 2 ), we observed slow but steady spatial spread, at about 100–200 m per year, roughly consistent with theoretical predictions. In contrast, the smallest release (0.11 km 2 ) produced erratic temporal and spatial dynamics, with little evidence of spread after 2 years. This is consistent with the prediction concerning fitness-decreasing Wolbachia transinfections that a minimum release area is needed to achieve stable local establishment and spread in continuous habitats. Our graphical and likelihood analyses produced broadly consistent estimates of wave speed and wave width. Spread at all sites was spatially heterogeneous, suggesting that environmental heterogeneity will affect large-scale Wolbachia transformations of urban mosquito populations. The persistence and spread of Wolbachia in release areas meeting minimum area requirements indicates the promise of successful large-scale population transformation.

Item ID: 54096
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1545-7885
Additional Information:

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), National Institute of Health (NIH), USA
Projects and Grants: BMGF FNIH grand challenges program, NHMRC grant number 1044698, NIH grant number R01 GM104325
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2018 04:08
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110309 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960402 Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
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