1. Ecology
  2. Epidemiology and Global Health
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Physiology and ecology combine to determine host andvector importance for Ross River virus

  1. Morgan P Kain  Is a corresponding author
  2. Eloise B Skinner  Is a corresponding author
  3. Andrew F van den Hurk
  4. Hamish McCallum
  5. Erin A Mordecai
  1. Stanford University, United States
  2. Department of Health, Australia
  3. Griffith University, Australia
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e67018 doi: 10.7554/eLife.67018

Abstract

Identifying the key vector and host species that drive the transmission of zoonotic pathogens is notoriously difficult but critical for disease control. We present a nested approach for quantifying the importance of host and vectors that integrates species' physiological competence with their ecological traits. We apply this framework to a medically important arbovirus, Ross River virus (RRV), in Brisbane, Australia. We find that vertebrate hosts with high physiological competence are not the most important for community transmission; interactions between hosts and vectors largely underpin the importance of host species. For vectors, physiological competence is highly important. Our results identify primary and secondary vectors of RRV and suggest two potential transmission cycles in Brisbane: an enzootic cycle involving birds and an urban cycle involving humans. The framework accounts for uncertainty from each fitted statistical model in estimates of species' contributions to transmission and has has direct application to other zoonotic pathogens.

Data availability

All data analyzed and all code generated during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Morgan P Kain

    Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, United States
    For correspondence
    kainm@stanford.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0605-7289
  2. Eloise B Skinner

    Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, United States
    For correspondence
    ebskinn@stanford.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Andrew F van den Hurk

    Public Health Virology, Forensic and Scientific Services, Department of Health, Brisbane, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Hamish McCallum

    School of Environment, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Erin A Mordecai

    Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

National Science Foundation (DEB-1518681)

  • Erin A Mordecai

Fogarty International Center (DEB-2011147)

  • Erin A Mordecai

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R35GM133439)

  • Morgan P Kain
  • Eloise B Skinner
  • Erin A Mordecai

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Thomas S Churcher, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: January 28, 2021
  2. Accepted: August 19, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: August 20, 2021 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2021, Kain et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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