(Meta)population dynamics determine effective spatial distributions of mosquito-borne disease control

Samantha R. Schwab, Chris M. Stone, Dina M. Fonseca, Nina H. Fefferman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent epidemics of mosquito-borne dengue and Zika viruses demonstrate the urgent need for effective measures to control these diseases. The best method currently available to prevent or reduce the size of outbreaks is to reduce the abundance of their mosquito vectors, but there is little consensus on which mechanisms of control are most effective, or when and where they should be implemented. Although the optimal methods are likely context dependent, broadly applicable strategies for mosquito control, such as how to distribute limited resources across a landscape in times of high epidemic risk, can mitigate (re)emerging outbreaks. We used mathematical simulations to examine how the spatial distribution of larval mosquito control affects the size of disease outbreaks, and how mosquito metapopulation dynamics and demography might impact the efficacy of different spatial distributions of control. We found that the birth rate and mechanism of density-dependent regulation of mosquito populations affected the average outbreak size across all control distributions. These factors also determined whether control distributions favoring the interior or the edges of the landscape most effectively reduced human infections. Thus, understanding local mosquito population regulation and dispersion can lead to more effective control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01856
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Zika virus
  • dengue fever
  • epidemiological modeling
  • metapopulation dynamics
  • mosquito control
  • population dynamics
  • spatial epidemiology
  • vector-borne disease control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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