Mosquito-born transmission in urban landscapes

With escalating urbanization, the environmental, demographic, and socio-economic heterogeneity of urban landscapes poses a challenge to mathematical models for the transmission of vector-borne infections. Classical coupled vector–human models typically assume that mosquito abundance is either independent from, or proportional to, human population density, implying a decreasing force of infection, or per capita infection rate with host number. We question these assumptions by introducing an explicit dependence between host and vector densities through different recruitment functions, whose dynamical consequences we examine in a modified model formulation. Contrasting patterns in the force of infection are demonstrated, including in particular increasing trends when recruitment grows sufficiently fast with human density. Interaction of these patterns with seasonality in temperature can give rise to pronounced differences in timing, relative peak sizes, and duration of epidemics. These proposed dependencies explain empirical dengue risk patterns observed in the city of Delhi where socio-economic status has an impact on both human and mosquito densities. These observed risk trends with host density are inconsistent with current standard models. A better understanding of the connection between vector recruitment and host density is needed to address the population dynamics of mosquito-transmitted infections in urban landscapes.

Available online here.